The nonprofit group Focus Points wants farmers' markets to be for everyone, especially those who can benefit from healthy, fresh and local food the most. That's why the group started a pay-what-you-can market last year, and they've brought the project back for the 2021 season under the new name Globeville Community Farmers Market
"We think all people of all income levels deserve access to healthy, good food," says Matthew Vernon, director of social enterprise at Focus Points. "Traditional farmers' markets give you the idea that they are expensive, white and not inclusive, so last year we thought, 'What if we flipped it on its head?'"
The concept is simple: Come to the Globeville Community Farmers Market, or GCFM, on Thursdays between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., at Comal Heritage Food Incubator
, 3455 Ringsby Court. Once there, peruse stands by Rebel Bread
, Huerta Urbana 2Gen Farm Incubator, East Denver Food Hub
, Comal, Metro Caring
, SAME Cafe
and S&D Creations. Pick up fresh eggs, just-picked greens, vegetables, artisan bread, prepared food for dinner, and anything else you want or need, then pay what you can. That can be $0 for a whole bunch of produce, or $30 for a couple loaves of bread. Really, says Vernon, it depends on what you have to spend and what you want to give. No amount is too low or too high.
"We need to come from a place where there is more than enough, because scarcity is fear, and we all have had enough of that this past year," he says. Plus, he adds, the nonprofit wanted to make sure the people shopping felt valued and respected while they were getting support. "Part of our society says you need to pay for things to feel like you're contributing, so if you can pay a buck, then that's great."
Some of the great produce found at the Globeville Community Farmers Market.
To make a market like the GCFM happen, Focus Points has received grant funds and private donations. This means that at the end of the day, every vendor who participates in the market makes the same money for their goods as they would at another, more traditional farmers' market. The costs are set off by the reserved funds and by shoppers who pay more than the asking price. As a bonus, the music and dancing that break out during the market are always free and highly recommended for all visitors.
Last year the event was called the Lost City
Market, named after the venue it was in. This year, the team wanted to let the community decide what their market should be called, and the winning vote brought GCFM to fruition. Vernon says he likes the name because it speaks to the neighborhood, which often gets whitewashed as RiNo to make it sound trendy and pricier to investors. At the end of the day, the Globeville Community Farmers Market is meant to provide the people of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods a source for quality food.
"It became this circle of giving, and it was so diverse with different languages and folks of all walks of life attending," says Vernon, who adds that the Lost City market was one of his favorite parts about last summer. "The food vendors are able to talk about the food they're selling and how customers can make the meals they are making anyway, but incorporating the market produce or substituting ingredients with a cool local product."
The GCFM will run at least until the end of September, but Vernon says if the weather is nice, they can extend it into October. The hope, he adds, is to branch out and continue this model indoors for the winter, though that hasn't been confirmed yet.