In collaboration with Cumberland County and Fayetteville officials, construction is underway on an international farmers market that will feature a beer garden, food truck area and connect to the Murchison Road corridor.
At a special Fayetteville City Council meeting last week, council members authorized Mayor Mitch Colvin and City Manager Doug Hewett to work with county officials on the Fayetteville-Cumberland County International Farmers Market project.
Officials are looking for the market to be located at the intersection of Rowan Street, Murchison Road and Bragg Boulevard, near the new speakeasy bar and north of the Rowan Skatepark.
Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Director Michael Gibson told City Council members that the city has upgraded and leveled the site to allow artists to do work such as carpentry and welding in a nearby building. He said he had previously approved “Makerspace.”
According to Gibson, the concept is that the “makerspace” will lead to a farmers market-like trail and multi-use facility where artists can sell their wares.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen said officials have been talking about the project for more than four years. The issue was first discussed in January 2017, according to city documents.
“We’re in a great time right now,” Jensen said.
She said grants and American Rescue Plan Act funds are available and could go towards the project.
Commissioner Jimmy Keefe presented the project to county commissioners during a Nov. 9 work session.
access to healthy food
Asked at the November meeting if other locations would be considered, Keefe said the property being considered is a downtown anchor connecting Murchison Road to downtown.
Cumberland County Commission Vice Chair Toni Stewart believes it’s important to have a farmers market within walking distance of Fayetteville State University, since there are no grocery stores in the Murchison Road area. Stated.
“We need a farmers market in that area,” Stewart said.
Keefe said food deserts (described by the National Institutes of Health as neighborhoods or communities with limited access to affordable, nutritious food) impact local health. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 80% of individuals enrolled in the Women, Infants, Children and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchase food at dollar or convenience stores. Less than 2% of her money goes to farmers markets.
He said farmers market vendors will accept payments from supplemental nutritional assistance and the Women, Infants and Children Program, promote local farmers and highlight cultural diversity.
Additionally, Keefe said the market will provide access to healthy food for low- to moderate-income families.
He said the market will also include educational components such as veteran farmer programs and information on healthy eating.
“Just putting a grocery store in an area with a traditionally unhealthy population doesn’t make people healthier,” he says. “We have to educate. We have to make them understand. If that were the case, we could put universities everywhere and all of a sudden everyone around us would get degrees and become smarter. Probably.
“That’s not going to work.”
Why International Farmers Market?
Keefe said 62 different languages are spoken in Cumberland County and the concept of having an international farmers market would highlight the region’s diversity.
“If you’re looking for Korean kimchi, Indian spices, Greek pastries, we’d love for you to come to our farmers market and get them,” he said.
What does the market include?
Keefe also said he expects the following changes in the market:
• Space for agricultural sellers and non-agricultural sellers such as artisans and agricultural cooperatives.
• International vendor area.
• Stall area.
• Educational area for children.
• Healthy food preparation area.
• Splash pad.
• Beer garden.
• Main hall.
• Farmer cooperative area.
• Incubator kitchen for caterers and bakeries who need a lot of space or for cooks who want to get into the restaurant business.
• International market area.
• Food education area.
• Area for street vendors and pop-up vendors.
• Area for entertainment.
• Outdoor seating area.
cost and schedule
Keefe said he estimates the entire project could cost between $15 million and $23 million.
Grants to offset prices are available through the Department of Agriculture, the American Rescue Plan Act and the Golden Leaf Foundation, he said.
The aim is to make the market self-sustaining and run by contractors, without the need for government subsidies or funding.
“I think it’s going to be a dynamic place where the community can come together and reconnect. This is a partnership between the city and county. This is about what we recognize: the health of our community. What we recognize is that it takes some effort and that people want a high quality of life,” Keefe said.
Keefe said the project will be on a three-year timeline and the municipality expects to submit a grant application by Dec. 31 of this year.
He said he expects Cumberland County and Fayetteville to lead the way on this project, along with partnerships with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, local visitor centers and chambers of commerce, and the Cool Spring Downtown District. Ta.
Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at email@example.com or 901-486-3528.