Friday, November 27, 2015

4MRMarket Concludes 5th Season, Starts New Venture

The 4MR Winter Market Is Coming!

4MRMarket will become the 4MR Winter Market from November 29th until sometime in April!

The winter market will be indoors at the Four Mile Run Park Conservatory Center and many of your favorite vendors will be staying on all winter--including greenhouse produce!

The start of 4MRMarket:
Clearing a vacant lot.


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 celebrated its Grand Opening on Sunday, June 20th, 2010. The market set 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," said then-Councilman Rob Krupicka at the time. “This is a wonderful initiative by the neighborhoods surrounding Four Mile Run,” added Krupicka. “With little more than sweat equity and a common goal, these folks are taking this gateway into Alexandria to a new level."

The market is 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.

The first tree planting in conjunction with
Casey Trees and Arlington & Alexandira Tree Stewards
With an eye toward formalizing this group into a permanent non-profit "Friends of Four Mile Run Park" (formal name to be determined), the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisan Market has committed $1000 yearly raised from market operations for various park improvements.

Most years, the 4MRMarket team presents the City of Alexandria with a check to further the revitalization of Four Mile Run Park. In addition to making financial donations, the 4MRMarket team has provided site improvements through "sweat equity" and by soliciting donations, both big and small. An anonymous donation of $10,000 helped support a NEA grant to build a performance stage. Other private donations and grants are being sought to provide park furniture, a green roof, plant rain gardens and other park improvements. The efforts have received coverage on NPR.

The newly planted trees by Mark Drive in 2014
following a successful online crowd-funding campaign.
Additionally, 4MRMarket was the first farmers market in Northern Virginia to allow the use of SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) to be used and to provide incentives with partnerships from Inova Health Foundation and Wholesome Wave.

The 4MRMarket team has also been leading and participating in Four Mile Run stream clean-ups over the off-season and assisted Casey Trees and the Arlington Tree Stewards with a massive tree planting adjacent to the Four Mile Park Expansion where 4MRMarket is held.

In 2014, in conjunction with the citizen-run Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market, the City of Alexandria launched its first-ever crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to kick-start the recently adopted Four Mile Run Park Improvement Plan by planting new trees in the park. Citizens responded with contributions large and small by donating tax-deductibly via the crowd-funding website. With the arrival of the fall tree planting season, over a dozen new trees were planted in the portion of Four Mile Run Park along the Mark Drive alleyway.

The 4MRMarket team says, "We're helping to fix a park, restore a stream and build community. Each year 4MRMarket donates all funds raised by our volunteer efforts to the City of Alexandria to be used in Four Mile Run Park. But we give so much more in effort. Our mission statement reads,
"The Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market brings 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. 4MRMarket is part of an overall vision to expand and improve Four Mile Run park and the surrounding neighborhood."
As a 100% neighborhood volunteer run market, 4MRMarket is proud that the market serves as an incubator for small start-up businesses, a space for non-profits to promote their causes, and a community gathering place for live music, fellowship, and quality food and craft options.

The 4MR Plaza as it was newly installed in 2012
Keep on the look-out for more details to come as 4MRMarket ventures into this new undertaking.

4MR Winter Market is open every Sunday from 9am until 1pm from until April in Four Mile Run Park at 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue, Alexandria. 

For more info see: http://www.4mrmarket.org/
On Facebook: facebook.com/4MRMarket
On Twitter: @4MRMarket
Contact us at: 4MRMarket@arlandria.org
Or call the 4MRMarket hotline: (804) 4Mi-Run1
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