Just recently, I was asked to participate in a Quality of Life discussion that will take place for the Waynedale area, here in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the 15th of September. I readily agreed because I believe there is much to be done.
I also am very impressed by the strides made by another neighborhood committee in the Fort Wayne area that is putting green, locally supported ideas in practice.
The East State Village Improvement Committee Association is the brain trust behind the East State Farmer’s Market.
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Cara Urban, one of the major players involved in the East State Farmer’s Market questions about how this innovative idea began and how they see the future.
Here is what I found out.
A Brewster Smythe: When did the East State Farmers Market begin and who were the major players?
Cara Urban: The idea came about during an East State Village Improvement Committee Association, (E.S.V.I.C.A), and meeting in early May of this year. During a discussion about how to utilize the plaza that donors had given so generously towards, the idea of a farmer’s market was mentioned. We knew that given the neighborhood and it truly being a “walking neighborhood”, that supports its local businesses and desires more offerings, a market would thrive here. We moved quickly to pull together a variety of producers, artists, bakers, crafters, and entertainers, and held our first market on June 27th, 2010.
E.S.V.I.C.A has successfully brought to life ideas such as the East State Village Arch, with upcoming plans for a second at the opposite end of the Village, collaborated a group of generous donors to fund the brick-paving of Tecumseh Branch Library, and puts forth continuous efforts towards a unified and improved appearance of the Village.
The Association is made up of a group of the Village’s small business owners, property owners, interested residents, and City officials. Alan Grinsfelder, is the President of E.S.V.I.C.A, as well as a local architect and resident of Forest Park Blvd. Alan has played a large role in designing the arches, a more detailed plaza plan, collaborating donors on several improvement projects, implementing and growth of the Association, and efforts towards historical preservation and restoration of the Village’s buildings and landmarks. Bob Baker, a retired barber of 40+ years, has as well contributed greatly to the growth of the Village and the success of its market. Bob is a part of the Association and has as well played a large role in the accomplishments throughout the Village.
ABS: What kinds of vendors appear each week?
CU: Every week offers a new art, the most recent of the season’s ever-changing produce, and someone’s original idea. The variety typically does include baked goods, produce, hand-made jewelry, natural soaps and beauty products, henna art, hand sewn children’s clothes, home-baked breads, fresh jams, fall decorations, and at times, vintage items.
Entertainment has featured local groups such as Afro Disiacs, Pauline Benner and, The Todd Harreld Band.
These markets are a great opportunity for someone that has considered venturing into a new business offering their talents, skills, or original ideas. The amount of markets that have started up just in the last year alone is certainly an indicator of the economy and people searching deeper within to earn a living. The costs are extremely minimal to operate one’s “storefront”. The networks that are created amongst the vendors and the public in these markets are incredible. So many opportunities present themselves when these entrepreneurs participate. It is amazing to see the growth as the season progresses.
There are still seven weeks remaining in this season’s scheduled market. We continue to welcome new vendors, artists, and entertainment.
ABS: What are future ideas and visions for the East State Farmers Market?
CU: The Village has explored ideas and is still interested in an indoor venue for the fall and winter months. If there are ideas or interested participants, please contact JoAnn Beer, firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss further. As for the summer months that have been established, the Association would love to see it’s vendors fill the library plaza and line the sidewalks of East State Village. The market has plans to expand on children’s activities and to produce a calendar informing the public of its planned craft week to week. We are currently seeking a variety of artists that are willing to demonstrate their talent during the market. This could be painting, dancing, sculpting, pottery, and sewing, anything that hopefully inspires those watching.
For the 2011 season, the market would love to attract and promote CSA’s, include more local and organic producers, promote and educate on more earth and environmentally friendly practices, and expand upon it’s variety of offerings. We would love to see more prepared lunch items available to entice the public to bring a chair, sit and take in the entertainment while enjoying lunch with their family. We invite and welcome ideas, participants, and volunteers.
ABS: If someone would like to participate or visit the East State Farmers Market, how would they get in touch with the right people?
CU: They can contact JoAnn Beer at email@example.com, or Cara Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org