from my sick bed, a blog post!
A couple of weekends ago, I was so fortunate to be able to attend the Project for Public Spaces International Public Markets Conference held right here in Cleveland (kudos to Ohio City Inc. and idea-factory Councilman Joe Cimperan for that).
One of my tour stops included Local Roots Market in Wooster, Ohio (about an hour away from Cleveland). It’s a cooperative market featuring almost all local produce, meats, baked goods, etc etc. There is a cafe inside the store where they serve up whatever they find in the market. There are no minimums to sell – you don’t have to be a professional farmer to sell here. You can have two apple trees in your yard and sell them here. I -love- this: what a way to build community.
Additionally, they are building a commercial kitchen to be used by farmers to create value-added products (you know, things like salsas, jams, etc) from their crops. Creating these kinds of products can keep the market (and farmer) more sustainable year round, plus, farmers who find themselves with a bumper crop may find themselves throwing away perfectly good produce that just won’t sell.
There are about a million empty storefronts on Lorain Ave. The Near West Side is ripe (pun!!) for a market like Local Roots. Maybe just maybe….one day….