At the Beekman Community Market, people line up to buy fresh, local produce. There are piles of cabbages, gourds, and other vegetables.Beekman Street Corridor Coalition members recognized for years that not having access to affordable, good-quality, fresh food had negative health outcomes for their families. In 2023, a coalition action team decided that creating a farmers’ market was one way to address the food desert.

Residents ranked product affordability and community building as key priorities. The process of establishing the market kicked off with residents visiting numerous local farm markets to evaluate different models. Neighbors realized that funding was needed to get the project off the ground. WIN applied for funding from Interact For Health and received a grant. This funding allowed for the project to take a major step forward in October when resident team member Heather Sayre was hired as the farmers’ market coordinator trainer by Working In Neighborhoods.

Three pilot markets were held in November and December. According to Sayre, “What makes The Beekman Community Market unique is that it offers fresh food for free and provides residents with an opportunity to sell their products”. A partnership with the Freestore Foodbank and the Ohio CAN program allowed 482 market customers to receive free, locally-grown produce. Eighteen community vendors displayed and sold a multitude of items including crafts, and baked goods. Sayre said, “Customers, vendors, and farmers are eager to participate in future markets. We are grateful for the opportunity to grow a market that is iconic for our neighborhoods.” Funding for the project was made possible thanks to a grant from Interact For Health.

Keep an eye out for future community events. Read the rest of WIN’s January Update here.