By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
We are thrilled to announce that Tuesday Market, a vibrant downtown farmers’ market that has become a key economic and cultural asset in Northampton, is now a program of Grow Food Northampton.
From its season opening on April 26 through the final market on November 8, 2016, Tuesday Market will be open from 1:30pm to 6:30pm each week between Thornes Marketplace and the E.J. Gare Municipal Parking garage. As always, the plaza will be filled with the best in locally grown and prepared foods, entertainment, and Tuesday Market’s trademark fun and quirky vibe. For now, market information updates will continue to be maintained at www.northamptontuesdaymarket.com.
Ben James and Oona Coy, who also own Town Farm, founded Tuesday Market in 2008 and ran it for many years. Having hired a manager to handle daily operations in 2015, the couple decided in January that they were ready to pass all management responsibilities to a new entity so they could focus on other pursuits. Grow Food Northampton saw the opportunity as an ideal fit with its goal of supporting a vibrant local agricultural economy that makes local food available to all residents.
Clem Clay, Executive Director of Grow Food Northampton, said “Taking on management of Tuesday Market is a perfect fit and a logical next step for us. Just as it is, the market advances many of our strategic goals related to local food and serving low-income populations, but in a way that is distinct from the programs we operate based at our Northampton Community Farm. Tuesday Market is a unique local institution that welcomes everyone in the community to join the local food movement, and we are grateful to Ben and Oona for giving us the opportunity to make it one of our key programs.”
James said, “Like Tuesday Market, Grow Food Northampton is dedicated to helping farmers succeed, and to helping people of all incomes eat healthy, local food. Like Tuesday Market, Grow Food Northampton is founded on the vision of building strong ties in our community between food producers, families, educators, artists, and civic leaders. I cannot imagine any organization better poised to take up the ongoing project of keeping the market as great as it is, while also continuously helping it to become something new.”
Leader in Food Access for Low-Income Residents
From its early days, the market became known not only as a place for farmers to meet up with customers seeking locally grown and produced foods, but also as a quirky, often music-filled, locus of community gathering. By 2010, Tuesday Market had also become a regional leader in matching SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefits to increase purchasing power of low-income residents who wanted fresh, local produce.Grow Food Northampton was a key early supporter of this effort. Tuesday Market’s longstanding commitment to accessibility is perfectly aligned with Grow Food Northampton’s other food access programs, including Double SNAP Shares and Senior Farm Shares, which were already undergoing significant expansion with support from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.
Clay said “We will to continue to participate in programs that stretch limited resources for low-income residents, so that everyone can take home healthy, local food to their families.” Through the regional SNAP & Save program led by CISA and Healthy Hampshire, participants in the SNAP program will be able to double the value of the first $10 they spend at Tuesday Market each week.
No Major Changes Planned
Niki Lankowski, who served as market manager in 2015 and as market assistant in the two previous seasons, joined the Grow Food Northampton staff on March 31, and will be primarily responsible for market operations and policy. Lankowski said, “I couldn’t be more pleased to be able to continue running the market, and to have the support of Grow Food Northampton in maintaining this vibrant community asset.”
Lankowski says that other than increased outreach and musical programming, no significant changes are planned for the market in 2016. “We are fortunate to have nearly 30 wonderful vendors providing the best in seasonal, local produce and prepared foods. Our job is to support them by creating an environment where customers want to spend time and money.”
Join Us April 26 (and every Tuesday)!
Tuesday Market is just plain fun, so you shouldn’t need much incentive other than good food, good atmosphere, and SNAP matching for eligible participants. But you should also know that a farmers’ market needs loyal customers to make it worthwhile for farmers to pick and pack their produce, spend a day’s time away from the farm (or a day’s wages on staff) to be at market, and take the chance that much of what they have brought won’t sell if weather doesn’t cooperate or people are just too busy to stop by. We acquired Tuesday Market because of all that it does for both farmers and customers, and we want you there to make sure the market can deliver on that promise!