(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News Wire, 9/29/2011)
Backyard harvests flourish in Ferndale, and for as long as anyone can remember there are always neighbors waiting to share the fruits of their labors. The Ferndale Farmers’ Market is bringing gardeners in the community together and giving them an inexpensive venue to sell their extra veggies, or even their locally crafted foods, baked goods, and craft items.
Ferndale Master Gardener Trevor Johnson manages the farmers market in conjunction with Ferndale Recreation at the Kulick Community Center at 1201 Livernois each Saturday through October 15th. Tables cost $15 and can be shared by multiple vendors or crafters.
September 24 was their third week in operation, and the handful of vendors seemed excited to be there and eager to see the market grow when it launches again next spring. The late-season start is an extension of earlier market organization efforts, first with the Ferndale Community Farm Stand held in a pedestrian walkway in Downtown Ferndale in 2009, and again in 2010 when the group moved to Kulick Center. Various people have been involved over the past couple of years, and the momentum keeps moving forward.
Johnson, who is the coordinator of the Good Neighbors Garden in Garbut Park has brought on Jim Greenwood of the Grant Park Community Garden in Royal Oak Township so that at least two collective farming projects have booths at the Market each week. This gives the market sustainable variety, and also gives the guys a chance to talk about their projects.
Greenwood, also a Master Gardener, helped to revitalize a park that had been abandoned for eighteen years. Last year the garden was reclaimed and planted for the first time. This year over 60 kids from the Royal Oak Township community took part in gardening camps at the Grant Park Community Garden. Sales from the carrots, greens, peppers, tomatoes and other produce go back into educational programs. For more information about this nonprofit effort, go to http://grantparkgarden.org/neighborhood-garden-coalition.
Steve Thompson of Kettle Corn of Michigan is also a regular at the Ferndale Farmers Market. “I think it has a lot of potential,” Thompson said. “There are two things a Farmers Market needs in order to be successful – good vendors and support of the community. That’s the yin and yang, if you don’t have those it won’t work.” Thompson does 14-18 markets or events each week to sell his freshly made kettle corn.
Johnson is passionate about gardening and promoting local food production. He volunteers his time to teach about growing, and he’s also one of the earliest members of Transition Ferndale. He said he is hoping to attract more vendors for the next couple of weeks, and to give the market a strong launch next season. “My goal is to help small un-established vendors become established and get out there in the world and share their passion, skills and goods.” For more information about the Ferndale Farmers Market, check them out at http://ferndalefarmersmarket.com. Or stop by the Kulick Community Center from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays through Oct. 15.