Friday, January 19, 2018

Grand opening of new Farmers MarketPlace in downtown Ypsi tomorrow

Exciting news gentle reader: Ypsilanti is getting a year-round farmers market. Tomorrow, Growing Hope is celebrating the opening of their new indoor Farmers MarketPlace located at 16 S. Washington in Ypsilanti. The event kicks off at noon and goes until 3. It will be a great chance to checkout this cool new space. I also have it on good authority that there will be great snacks.

My good friend, Erica Bloom, is Growing Hope's Interim Director of Impact. She was kind enough to give me an email interview this morning. There are a lot of really cool things happening at the Farmers MarketPlace including a fully licensed commercial kitchen for that local food entrepreneurs can rent.

Ben Connor Barrie: Can you tell me a little about the new Ypsi Farmers MarketPlace?

Erica Bloom: After a few years of planning and construction Growing Hope is launching the new Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace. While its primary goal is to extend the season of our downtown farmers market year round, this facility is very much “more than a market." Beyond the outdoor and indoor spaces for the market, a fully licensed commercial kitchen will become a micro-incubation kitchen, available for affordable rental by local entrepreneurs. Additionally, the kitchen will service the Hall when in use as an event space, and will be a destination for expanded healthy cooking classes. Finally, our Building Blocks for the Food Entrepreneur workshop series will be headquartered out of this space.

BCB: What aspect of this project was the most exciting?

EB: For me, the most exciting aspect is that we've managed to transform a nearly abandoned warehouse in downtown Ypsilanti into a thriving community space. And, it's all centered around local and healthy food. With so much energy right now around supporting local farmers and food businesses, it's great to see that energy happening in downtown Ypsi.

BCB: Let's say I want to be a vendor at this new market, how would I sign up?

EB: Growing Hope is always recruiting for new vendors. Right now, if someone is interested in selling at the Farmers Market they can sell at our Indoor Market once a month in February, March and April. Our outdoor season starts in May, and applications for that market will be out soon. People should contact Growing Hope's Farmers Market and Nutrition Manager at to get involved.

BCB: This looks like you have a really great space here, is it available for rental?

EB: Yes, our space is available for rent! We're just getting our rental program up and running, so if someone is interested in throwing a party, hosting a large meeting, organizing a fundraiser, or whatever, give us a shout. People can fill out a form on Growing Hope's website under Event Space, and a staff member will follow-up.

BCB: Can you tell me a little about the celebration tomorrow?

EB: Tomorrow we're hosting a Grand Opening party to celebrate the new space. We'll have an open house from 12pm-3pm at the MarketPlace, 16 S. Washington Street. Everyone is welcome to stroll the building and meet with Growing Hope staff about the MarketPlace. Tomorrow evening we'll continue the celebration with an invite-only gala to honor our retiring founder Amanda Edmonds

BCB: I hear that there will be food at the Grand Opening. What can you tell me about that?

EB: Yes, there will be food! Snacks and refreshments. I can't tell you exactly--you'll just have to come and find out. But we're a food organization so it's probably going to be good.

BCB: Beyond tomorrow's celebration, is there anything else that Growing Hope is doing that I should know about?

EB: So much! In addition to our Farmers Markets we have an urban farm and demonstration gardens at our Growing Hope Center on Michigan Avenue. We grow all kinds of vegetables for the local community, and hold garden trainings and classes there. We also work with many young people throughout Ypsilanti teaching them about growing their own food, healthy cooking and are even jumpstarting Ypsilanti Community School district's school garden and Farm to School programs. We're also committed to providing gardening resources and supplies to help people start their gardens. During the spring we build raised bed gardens in people's homes, and have a garden supply store called YpsiPLANTi, located at the Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace. There's a ton of ways for people to get involved including volunteering almost any day of the week.

There you have it folks. You should make sure and stop by tomorrow. It sounds like it'll be tons of fun. I know I am very excited to see this new space in downtown Ypsi.

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