COMMENTARY

A nice place to shop
Local food activists partner with architecture school to create attractive farmers’ market site.

Posted February 10, 2005

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Dear New Farm,

After five years of struggle to overcome the stigma of shopping in a ‘bad’ neighborhood, The Commercial Street Market in uptown Springfield, Missouri, has partnered with nearby Drury Universitys' School of Architecture Design-and-Build Class to construct a permanent pavilion on the market site. The historic neighborhood is beginning to see a comeback as retail and loft apartments bring in a younger, upscale client base. The architect students must go through the entire process, from design, permits, procurement of materials, etc., through to the completed project in just one semester. The addition of this pavilion at the base of the historic Jefferson Street Footbridge will be a place for art shows and picnics as well as an attractive place for vendors and customers alike.

Nearly 90 percent of the market customers are low income and elderly who rely on WIC and FMNP coupons to buy fresh produce. Nutrition education is a high priority of the market and its vendors. Student interns work all season to come up with fun events that showcase the produce that is in season and teach the customer how to prepare fresh foods.

Leah Bonebreak
Springfield, Missouri