My friend Victoria loves a promising upstart, which is why her Saturday mornings this summer include an early morning stop at the Urban Farms outdoor market on Tillman and Broad. Last Saturday, along with two sleeves of wild and cultivated flowers, she bought salad greens, locally produced Italian sausages, white radishes, and green, white and purple peppers.
“I like Urban Farms, because it’s in a neighborhood that deserves to be revitalized,” she said. “I’m trying to help it along as much as possible.”
While there are more than a dozen seasonal farmers markets in the Memphis area, none has more heart than Urban Farms, which in addition to the outdoor market includes a fresh food corner store in the heart of Binghampton. Working under the umbrella of the Binghampton Development Corporation, Urban Farms hopes to improve the health and well being of neighborhood residents by improving their access to fresh food.
The corner store, located in a renovated gas station, sells dairy products (including farm fresh eggs), packaged goods, and locally sourced produce. The outdoor market brings in a dozen or so additional vendors selling fruits, vegetables, plants, honey, backed goods, herbs, body-care products, and meals-to-go.
“It’s been a great coming together of the neighborhood and the wider Memphis community,” said market manager Rosalie Bouck about the market’s early success. “I’m hoping we can attract even more DIY vendors from the neighborhood.”
Binghampton residents helped renovate the store space, as did a core group of volunteers who cleaned, painted, and landscaped the property. Now that the market is in full swing, Bouck is looking for more volunteers to pitch in and help.
“We didn’t want to have a flood of volunteers until we were organized,” she said. “Now we have specific needs, like shifts to work in the store. And I’d love to have someone organize a health and wellness booth for the outdoor market.“
Other volunteer jobs include set up and break down for the outdoor markets, and art projects, such as painting a mural on the property’s fence or building a sculpture garden. “If there are artists who want to get involved, then they should come to me with an idea and we can make it happen,” Bouck said.
An even easier way to support Urban Farms is to shop the corner store (open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and the outdoor markets on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you stop by this week, you’ll find — among other things — blueberries, strawberries, squash, potatoes, peaches, watermelons, peppers, and Mama Dee’s Italian Ice.
The market also operates a drive-thru coffee window Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 9 a.m.
If you’d like to volunteer your time or need additional information, contact Bouck at email@example.com.Urban Farms Corner Store and Outdoor Market, 2977 Broad (urbanfarmsmemphis.org)