In the fast-changing neighborhood of Jefferson Park, Amy and Doug Yetman are hoping to create a sense of community with the new Jefferson Park Farm and Flea Market, which debuts Saturday, August 8. The Yetmans are the masterminds behind the annual Horseshoe and Holiday markets that have been taking place in Denver over the past six years. They recently moved from Tennyson Street to West 20th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, and immediately saw the opportunity to create a market. After that, everything “serendipitously fell into place,” Amy says.
“When we started the first market it was because my husband loved gardening and farming and I had a love of vintage and thrifting, and we were in a neighborhood with great support,” she continues, talking about the area around Tennyson, which houses the Horseshoe Markets. “When we moved to this neighborhood, which isn’t far, I noted that this is a growing neighborhood with a little business district and it’s just right for stuff to happen.”
The Yetmans moved directly across the street from Janine and Marshall Vanderburg, another couple deeply invested in the community. Janine sits on the advisory council of WalkDenver, an initiative that encourages Denver to be a more walkable city, and Marshall is an active member of the Federal Boulevard Partnership, which serves to “make Federal more friendly,” Amy says.
“Marshall came to us and said they really wanted us to do something in the neighborhood,” Yetman recalls. “We all agreed that we just wanted to celebrate the neighborhood and showcase its growth.”
The difference between this market and the Horseshoe Market is what Amy calls the “urban homesteading aspect,” which allows the community to be more involved. Many of the vendors who'll be at the Jefferson Park Farm and Flea Market are urban backyard farmers, who often have more produce than they themselves can consume or sell. The market will allow these farmers to give back to their community by donating the food to those in need.
“We created this initiative called Bounty Bucks for farmers to donate their extra produce to Bienvenidos Food Bank in exchange for cash to be used at the market,” Amy says. “For every surplus, you’ll get a $5 Bounty Buck.”
The Bounty Bucks program is being funded by Les Schwab Tires, which has a store in the area. The national company had been looking for 4-H opportunities to sponsor in the Denver and Colorado areas, and when approached about sponsoring the Bounty Bucks program, the Les Schwab leadership team “enthusiastically accepted to help fund the intersection of locally-grown produce helping support a vibrant local food bank,” Amy remembers.
In addition to the partnerships with Les Schwab and Bienvenidos Food Bank, the Yetmans hope to work with the Federal Boulevard Partnership to bring the neighborhood closer together while it undergoes rapid growth. “There’s just a lot going on right now with a huge population increase and an influx of condos going up while old places are being torn down, and it’s creating a bit of tension,” Amy says of Jefferson Park’s gentrification. “This market is an opportunity to just embrace all of it and celebrate the neighborhood and the things and people that have been there. There are new people coming to the neighborhood all the time, and this will be a place for everybody to come and participate in the experience.”
The Jefferson Park Farm and Flea Market will focus on the garden, the backyard and the home, she says, showcasing everythign from mushrooms and macarons to homemade soups. The majority of the vendors will be coming from the Jefferson Park neighborhood. “When you go to a farmers’ market, you get inspired about your own space in general,” Amy adds. “The people in this area seem really interested in growing their own food and having their own gardens, so we’re extremely excited about having a market in a really urban neighborhood that can celebrate and inspire everyone.”
The Jefferson Park Farm and Flea Market will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 8, on West 25th Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Elliot Street. Two more markets will follow, on September 12 and October 10. For more information, click here.