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‘It’s a beautiful thing’

‘It’s a beautiful thing’
July 13
04:00 2017

Liberty Market reopens with urban farmers

The Liberty Street Market reopened with a variety of urban farmers from the community on Saturday, July 8.

The market consists of two shelters the city built on a lot it owns at 1591 N. Liberty St. The market originally opened in October 2014 with a variety of famers and other vendors, but closed the following year after low vendor and customer turnout. Since then, the city has rented it for various events to local churches and organizations like the Second Harvest Food Bank. Saturday marked the return to a regularly scheduled vendors market as eight local local farmers sold produce.

It’s under new management as the city has contracted with Ravonda Dalton-Rann’s R and Company, LLC, which is being paid $1,800 a month to manage the market for a six-month trial period. All revenue form vendor and rental fees go to the city.

Dalton-Rann said she’s grateful to the city and Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, who is over the Northeast Ward, where the market resides, for the opportunity to revitalize it.

“I think the future is going to be outstanding,” said Dalton-Rann.

The new market opened with a variety of locally grown produce from the community, including corn, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and collards. Residents of the nearby Cleveland Avenue area plan to have a regular table there to sale produce from a nearby community garden they maintain. Among them was 90-year-old Mattie Young, the longtime president of Cleveland Avenue Homes Association who’s known as the “Mayor of Cleveland.” Young, who grew up on a farm in South Carolina, said it felt good to get back into farming and she was glad to see the market opened again for local growers.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” she said.

The Cleveland Avenue garden is a joint venture between the city, the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity and the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension. Young’s table even had eggs laid by hens from Bishop Todd Fulton’s Mt. Moriah Outreach Center in Kernersville.

Most of the vendors were graduates of the Cooperative Extension’s Urban Farm school. Graduates Courtney Mack and Arthur Jackson sold produce from their own community garden. Other graduates sold produce they literally are growing in their own backyards, like Sherry Leach-Speas, Yolanda Dickerson, Michael Banner and Denise Terry. Terry, who graduated from the Farm School this year, has been selling at the Cobblestone Farmers Market on Highland Avenue and plans to start using the Dixie Classic Farmers Market. She said she felt the Liberty Market  could be a boon for the community.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “I’m going to try to support it as much as I can.”

Most of the urban farmers said they plan to continue setting up at the Liberty Market, but have to plan around their day jobs and when their crops are ready. Currently, the market is planning for regular Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with plans to expand its days as farmer’s become available.

Those interested in renting the Liberty Market or being a vendor there can call Dalton-Rann at 336-414-5845.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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