The Memphis Farmers Market is a weekly, non-profit outdoor marketplace featuring local farmers and artisans. The market showcases locally sourced produce and food items, as well as locally produced kitchen and garden arts and crafts from the Mid-South region. The market strives to educate the community about eating local, nutrition and food choices. Enjoy live music and weekly themed events and fun programs.
oUR 5 GOALS AS A MARKET ARE TO…
Improve public health nutrition options by providing a vehicle to educate the community on nutrition and good health
Assist area farmers, producers, and artisans with sustainable business opportunities
Generate a sense of local pride while furthering the economic development of our community
Provide access to local food choices
Serve as a community-gathering place
The Memphis Farmers Market was started in 2006 by a small group of volunteers who had a vision for a thriving marketplace of fresh and local foods in Downtown Memphis. Through dedication, hard work and immense community support, the Market grew over the next several years, adding not only more produce farmers, but prepared foods and kitchen and garden artisans as well.
In July 2010, the Memphis Farmers Market was awarded a $100,000 matching grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for expanding the market pavilion. In order to complete the expansion, the MFM has been actively fundraised the additional funds to take advantage of the $100,000 TDA grant, along with raising additional funds needed to complete the project. Additional funds raised include a $65,000 grant from the Hyde Foundation and thousands of dollars in private donations given by market supporters.
The new pavilion expansion matches the architectural design of the existing pavilion and includes electricity, lighting and fans, and provides covered space for 16 vendors. We are thrilled the project was completed in May 2011. “Our market has grown significantly over the years, and currently more than a dozen vendors are without a covered space. Our covered pavilion is a great feature that really sets us apart from other markets. To expand it is needed and exciting” said Susan Kitsinger. “These generous grants and contributions allowed the Memphis Farmers Market to grow to the next level by increasing our covered, open-air market space and by better serving our local farmers and artisans.”
The Downtown Memphis Commission was instrumental in their support with the project, and Clark Dixon Architects donated its services in-kind for facilitation of the pavilion expansion. Montgomery Martin was the contractor. The capital improvements also provide MATA with covered parking spaces as well as access to covered passenger drop-off during inclement weather.
2012 was another big year for the Market. The Market was certified to accept SNAP benefits through a token program, allowing those on government assistance a direct line to fresh foods. Also, through a matching grant with Grow Memphis, SNAP participants who swipe at least $10 on their SNAP card at the market table are given $10 in Double Greens tokens, which are to be spent on fresh produce exclusively. This addition of SNAP benefits speaks directly to the Market’s mission to provide access to fresh, local foods to everyone. The token program also allows all shoppers to swipe their debit/credit card at the Market table and purchase tokens, which can be used just like cash with all market vendors.
Due to increased operations and workload, Memphis Farmers Market hired a full-time Market Director, Allison Cook, to handle market operations and provide board of directors and organizational support. Food trucks were added to the offerings at the market this same year, with rave reviews from hungry shoppers. Bluff City Coffee became the coffee cart sponsor, and they continue to provide high-end coffee and bakery items.
With continued growth on the vendors front and the volunteers front, Memphis Farmers Market hired a part-time Market Coordinator, Terre Gorham, in 2014 to handle volunteer management and other market duties. And, Allison Cook was promoted to Executive Director.
With such a history of growth, the Market looks forward to the future and continuing to grow and expand its community impact and support of local businesses and farmers.
Special thanks to our founding board members:
| Sharon Leicham | Lawrence Migliara | Andy Kitsinger | Susan Kitsinger | Molly McClure | Ellen Dolich | Julie Ray |
| Henry Jones | Mac Edwards | Mark Yates | Dianne Dixon | Chris Lambertson | Lauren Taylor | Linda Cornish |