My weekly Saturday morning routine during summers in Kalamazoo, Michigan is anchored around a trip to the Bank Street Farmer’s Market. Having made this a habit the past few years, I have seen this major Kalamazoo market explode in popularity: the number of vendors has no doubt shot up along with customer traffic; and new residential development has even followed. The Kalamazoo Farmer’s market is where locals can come together to witness the celebrated food culture of their city. This market is now almost a part of the everyday local architecture in Kalamazoo.
Beyond large West Michigan farms bringing their produce to Bank Street on Saturday (or Tuesday and Thursday) mornings, many big names in the Kalamazoo foodie world set up shop there too: Food Dance Market, Water Street Coffee Joint and Gorilla Gourmet among them. But a trip to the farmer’s market is not just a chance to revel in Kalamazoo’s foodie glory, but also an opportunity to make a statement about the production and distribution of your food.
Farmer’s markets often share the common goal of creating a dialogue with the community within which they are based about the sustainable production and distribution of healthy and affordable produce. And, along with 130 other Michigan markets, most vendors at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s market are making that produce easier to access by accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Bridge cards. With this social justice tint behind the growing farmer’s market trend, we can begin to chip away at some of the inequality we often see associated with city living.
How are you involving yourself at your local farmer’s market? What are some other socially conscious trends you have noticed gaining traction in your community?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.