Liberty Street Market is revived

Granville Farms Inc., was one of several vendors that participated in the grand re-opening of Liberty Street Farmers Market.

Liberty Street Market is revived
August 19
13:43 2020

The City of Winston-Salem is looking to pump new life into the Liberty Street Farmers Market. The market officially opened in 2014 but hasn’t been open consistently since 2016, until now. Last week the Urban Food Advisory Council held a grand re-opening for the market located in the heart of a food desert.

A food desert is an area that has limited access to healthy and affordable food. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in order to qualify as a food desert in urban areas, at least 500 people or 33% of the population must live more than one mile from the nearest large grocery store.

To address food deserts here in Winston-Salem, in 2017 the Urban Food Advisory Council (UFAC) was formed to initiate and promote food access throughout the city with particular emphasis on the urban core. Megan Regan, UFAC chair, said the council has been working since its inception on evaluating the Liberty Street Market.

The market, which cost the city $350,000 to design and build, is comprised of two covered shelters and parking lot. As mentioned earlier, city officials held a grand opening for the market in 2014, but since then many have questioned why it was even built.

Earlier this year the council received a grant to open the market every two weeks for three months. Regan, who is an economics professor at Wake Forest University, said the grant specifies that the farmers must produce within a five-mile radius of the market. So after reaching out to local farmers and deciding what day and time would work best, the council got to work advertising for the grand re-opening.

“Our goal is to address the food desert situation in this part of town as well as use this space for what it was designed for,” Regan said while speaking with The Chronicle during the grand re-opening last week.

Regan said as we continue to try to navigate through uncertain times, people are paying more attention to issues such as food insecurity and now more than ever communities need to take a serious look at ways to create sustainable neighborhoods.

“Right now with COVID-19 there is stronger awareness of food safety and security provided by small scale local farmers … as well as really needing to take a look at sustainable neighborhoods and neighborhood level programs,” Regan said.

Regan said she hopes working under the current model, utilizing local farmers and accepting EBT/SNAP payments, they will be able to provide greater market access. “We know there’s demand for consumers but it’s also difficult to take that time out, especially when budgets are tight,” she continued.

“From a consumer prospective, we hope having SNAP/EBT will welcome consumer demand. But from my personal opinion, it wasn’t a demand issue so we’re going to give it a go.”

The Liberty Street Farmers Market, 1551 N. Liberty Street, will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. every second and fourth Friday through the end of October. Masks will be required and measures will be put in place to account for social distancing. Free masks will be provided to those who do not have one.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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