This Thursday the first ever Liberty City Farmers’ Market will convene at
TACOLCY Park (6161 NW 9th Avenue) (see comment section for new location!) from noon to 6 p.m. A partnership between several local organizations, the market aims to be a much-needed source of healthy, mostly local food in the middle of the Liberty City food desert. Today I spoke to Melissa Contreras, market manager and founder of the Urban Oasis Project, about the mission of the market and the bounty of exquisite local produce that will be on sale there.
Where does all the produce that will be at the market come from?
Melissa Contreras: It’s all local except yesterday morning we made a decision to accept produce that is coming from small African-American-owned farms in Georgia. It’s things we don’t have here anyway, like peanuts and pecans. We’re doing it to support those farmers because that’s consistent with our mission. Other than that, it is entirely local. It’s all South Florida, nothing from wholesalers, nothing that you could buy at the [supermarket], nothing from big growers. It’s all from small local farms with the one exception of the two folks in Georgia. [Ed. note: The farms include Bee Heaven Farm, Worden Farm, Three Sisters Farm — which are all certified organic — and Teena’s Pride.]
What is the core mission of the Liberty City Farmers’ Market?
Melissa Contreras: The core mission is to actually bring more healthy food options to a food desert, which is Liberty City and the Little Haiti area, where there just aren’t that many healthy food options or many grocery stores. Most people get their food at corner stores, which is generally processed food. There’s just not enough access to fresh food.