Flint, MI – The Flint Farmers’ Market and several community partners announced improvements and changes for the market at a press conference and ribbon cutting held today in the market atrium.
A bright purple ribbon was cut in the newly remodeled ELGA Credit Union Demonstration Kitchen. The demonstration kitchen is a fully functional commercial kitchen. It is used as a platform to showcase local culinary talent as well as to hold nutritional classes orchestrated by several of the market’s community partners including MSU Extension and the Hurley Children’s Center. Additionally, it is rented for private cooking classes and small events. “ELGA Credit Union is delighted to join the thriving Flint Farmers’ Market Community by sponsoring the Demonstration Kitchen. The space allows local organizations to host cooking demonstrations that teach residents how to explore healthy lifestyles and learn about the importance of nutrition for health and wellness,” said Karen Church, ELGA Credit Union CEO. The ribbon cutting marks the start of a new partnership between ELGA and the Flint Farmers’ Market and comes on the heels of the opening of a brand new ELGA Credit Union branch in downtown Flint. Market Manager Karianne Martus added, “We are so excited to unveil our new and improved kitchen with the support of ELGA Credit Union. ELGA is committed to our community and we are proud to have them as part of our market family and look forward to the wonderful impact we will make together!”
June 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of the Flint Farmers’ Market in its current site at 300 East First Street. According to market management there is much to celebrate:
- 535,000 customers a year (up from 250,000 at old site)
- 45 year-round indoor vendors (up from 30 at old site)
- 35 seasonal outdoor vendors May through December
- 3 premiere (150+ people) venues and 2 small (25 people) venues that house more than 250 community, public and private events each year
- continued partnership with local, state and federal agencies that provide food assistance to those in need
- 2 commercial incubator kitchens that provide resources for budding food entrepreneurs
- multiple awards and accolades over the years including being named one of the GREAT PUBLIC SPACES in AMERICA by the American Planning Association
- serving as a model for other markets across the state and across the country
“We are so proud of all of these accomplishments, it has been an amazing five years thanks to the support of the greater-Flint community,” said Martus adding, “However we are not stopping now!” Today marked the unveiling of the new “Pavilion Patio” located at the west end of the outdoor market pavilion. This section of the pavilion has been remodeled to include space for Food Trucks (every market day) and the Flint Handmade Guild Arts & Crafts Street Fair (Saturdays). The festive new space includes picnic tables, indoor outdoor grass carpet and patio themed decorations. The market’s outdoor pavilion is sponsored by HAP.
Representatives from HAP were on hand to celebrate the new Pavilion Patio and also to announce news of a continuing partnership. HAP’s Director of Mid-Michigan Marketing and Community Outreach Bridget Hollingsworth told the crowd, “We are so pleased to announce that our partnership with the market will continue for the next three years. HAP will continue to utilize the Flint Farmers’ Market to provide information, awareness and programming to the greater-Flint community. This is just one of the many ways we support HAP’s mission of enhancing the health and wellbeing of the lives we touch.” On most market days customers can find a representative from HAP or one of its affiliates onsite in the market atrium to answer questions and offer resources for those in need.
While the market has had many successes, it has not been without some growing pains especially related to weekday parking. The market is located directly across from the main MTA bus terminal. MTA General Manger Ed Benning shared this news today, “As a longtime friend of the market MTA has been working to find solutions to parking challenges created by our now bustling downtown. Today we announce that the MTA Flint Trolley has returned and is transporting people to the Flint Farmer’s Market Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every 15 minutes.” Market customers are encouraged to park at the University of Flint-Michigan S Lot and take the Trolley to the Market, however they can also be picked up at the following sites:
- UM Flint “S” lot
- Northbank Center
- Flint Farmers’ Market
- 3rd and Wallenberg
- Saginaw and Second NB
- UM Flint Pavilion
- Soggy Bottom
As summer season approaches, downtown is gearing up for many festivals and events that also impact the market. This year, for the first time ever, the market will be OPEN on Crim FRIDAY (August 23) from 9 am to 5 pm and be CLOSED on Crim Saturday (August 24). According to Crim Race Director, Andy Younger this news was met with much appreciation from the Crim organization, “We are so excited to have the opportunity to showcase our great Farmers’ Market to people coming to the Crim Expo on Thursday and Friday this year. We are also thrilled to be able to offer additional parking spaces on race day. A huge thanks to the Market and its vendors for being so flexible and welcoming to Crim racers!” The market will offer discounts and specials to race participants who show their race registration on Thursday and Friday. The market is planning to have live music and cooking demos throughout the day as to showcase the market to the many out of town guests who participate in the Crim. Additionally, the Friday shopping option offers regular market shoppers a chance to get their shopping done without worrying about road closures and crowds from the Crim on Saturday.
Keeping with the theme of customer service and community partnerships, the market is getting ready to launch a new online shopping, pick up and delivery service. Brent Diggs Jr. announced the opening of his Upick Grocery Delivery Service through the Flint Farmers’ Market. Diggs attends Ferris State University and is majoring in Business Administration. He has created a shopping and delivery service for the people in the community who are not able to reach locally grown products on a daily basis. “I am a proud alumnus of the Mott Community College Culinary Arts program. I have a huge interest in the quality of the food that we consume. I want to take on this platform to let the community know how important it is to shop local from the farm to table products. I believe the Flint Farmers’ Market is the best source to get your groceries from and now customers can shop from several vendors thru Upick Grocery,” said Diggs. “In keeping with the spirit of the market we are pleased to encourage another young entrepreneur while also enhancing our customers’ experience,” added Martus. The pilot program will begin in June to fine tune the service. Full availability and access to the general public is expected by July.
Following the press conference and ribbon cutting guests were treated to a reception hosted by ELGA in the ELGA Credit Union Demonstration Kitchen.
The Flint Farmers’ Market is located at 300 East First Street and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 am to 6 pm and Saturdays 8 am to 5 pm. For more information please contact Market Manager, Karianne Martus, 810.964.5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.