Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market Comes to Fruition

There’s no need to vegetate any longer this summer.

A floundering economy and budget shortfalls have been no match for the ingenuity of a small group of residents and area business owners. The Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market is celebrating its Grand Opening on Sunday, June 20th. The market is setting up on the site of the stalled Four Mile Run (4MR) park expansion with the surrounding community rallying together to address what was once viewed as the City’s most challenging area.

"This is the first farmers market opening based on the principals of the recently adopted Healthy Food Alexandria Initiative", says Councilman Rob Krupicka. “This is a wonderful initiative by the neighborhoods surrounding Four Mile Run,” added Krupicka, who plans to be on hand to celebrate the opening. “With little more than sweat equity and a common goal, these folks are taking this gateway into Alexandria to a new level. I really hope folks will come down and join us.” Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley and Councilwoman Del Pepper will also be present for the ribbon cutting.

The market will feature the usual - vegetables, fruits, meats and cheeses - , but also hopes to have an international flair, with tamales and Salvadorian saltenas from local vendors and handmade crafts from local artisans. Curtis Blues, solo blues artist of the year and frequent busker at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Old Town, will also be performing on opening day.

The market will be located at the entrance to Four Mile Run Park, part of a long overlooked and underutilized gateway from Arlington, where, every day, walkers stroll up the park and bikers whiz down the Four Mile Run Trail that connects to Crystal City, DC, Shirlington and the Mount Vernon Trail.

“It’s muy bien,” said Alexandria resident Katherine Perez. “It’s a great way to bring the community together in a healthy way. We usually bike to Shirlington - now maybe folks there will head in our direction.”

If the volunteer group’s current progress is any indication, they will succeed in their mission and vision of bringing fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels, provide an opportunity for local artisans and producers of goods to bring their wares to market, strive to reflect the diversity of the community, and improve the quality of life for Arlandria residents and visitors. It is part of an overall vision to expand and improve Four Mile Run Park and the surrounding neighborhood.

“With the Market mission statement settled upon, we hope the market will be a solidifying element within the community,” said Arlandria resident and one of the Market Managers, Nick Partee. “We really hope our neighbors will come out to support the local vendors and the community.” Other Market Managers are Travis Hester of Del Ray, whose back-yard farming and community garden advocacy have already made a difference in Alexandria; Kevin Beekman of Arlandria, a long-time proponent of bringing improved quality of life to Arlandrians; and Warwick Village resident Glenn Christianson, who brings years of experience helping manage the Del Ray Farmers Market into the fold.

Beginning June 20th, the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market will be open from 8am - 1pm on Sundays at 4109 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305.

See: http://www.arlandria.org/p/4mr-market.html

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First year Market goals include getting the market running by end of June with at least 5 vendors, improving and maintaining the expanded 4MR park site, and supporting EBT payment by end of the first market year. This could be a very exciting year for building community within Arlandria.

If you know a local artisan or a farmer in the region, are a farmers or artisan looking for a place to sell your wares, or are an area resident that wants to get involved with the 4MR Farmers and Artisans Market, please contact Travis Hester (travishdc@delrayfarms.org) or Nick Partee (nick.partee@arlandria.org).

One last push to clean-up 4MR Park where the market will be located will take place Saturday, June 19th from 9-11am. Just show up with gloves and a water bottle Saturday at 9am at 4109 Mt Vernon Ave!


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