Urban Farm class brings new life to Liberty Market

The most recent class of the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension’s Urban Farm School graduated last week.

Urban Farm class brings new life to Liberty Market
November 17
02:15 2016

Photo by Todd Luck



Recent graduates from the Urban Farm School are using the Liberty Street Market to sell vegetables grown in East Winston.

The Liberty Street Market is owned by the city and was originally envisioned as a farmers and vendors market. It closed after it failed to attract costumers and vendors and has been available to rent for events.

The recent class of the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension’s Urban Farm School used the market to sell vegetables they grew to the public. Mary Jac Brennan, a horticulture and local foods extension agent, said that selling the crops there has helped teach students how to market their produce.

“We know it was a great resource for the community,” said Brennan.

“We want to try to help enliven their development there.”

She said it’s a challenge to get farmers to go there because it’s not a developed market with an established customer base. She’s hoping their use of the market will help change that.

The crops were grown on nearby Cleveland Avenue in a small lot owned by the city. The Farm School uses the land in partnership with the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, which has a community garden there. Each of the 10 students in the class had their own garden bed to grow a variety of crops like lettuce, cabbage and collard greens.

One of the students, Curtis L. Wilkes, said he learned a lot about selling vegetables at the market.

“It was definitely a good experience to have someone come out and actually want to buy your produce, and get compliments on it and tell you how good you did,” he said. “That’s the good feeling.”

Wilkes said he loves gardening, which is a tradition in his family. He also runs the garden at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. He said he learned a lot from the class and hopes to pass that knowledge on to others to help in the city’s food deserts, where fresh produce isn’t readily available.

The class held its graduation on Nov. 10, with a pot luck feast that included some vegetables from the garden. It also featured words from the graduates, which at times were emotional, describing a close-knit class where students became friends as well as gardeners.

Courtney Mack, another student in the class, said that though graduated, the class plans to return to the Liberty Street Market this weekend to sell vegetables. Their use of the Cleveland Avenue garden will end soon as the weather changes for the winter, but she said that the class is looking for land so they can continue gardening. After they are able to start growing again next year, they plan to regularly return to the Liberty Street Market to sell their goods.

“We’re not separating; we’re just getting started,” said Mack about her class.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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