A South Bronx Tale: Mott Haven Gains a New Farmers' Market


File 1838Starting Saturday, June 14th, Bronx residents will have a brand-new, convenient way to access fresh, affordable food. The South Bronx Farmers Market is one of five new farmers' markets in Just Food’s City Farms Market Network.

Lily Kesselman, Bronx resident and market co-founder, saw a need for a weekend market in her neighborhood. “We have several weekday markets, but most of us work in Manhattan during the week and have no time to get to them. I was looking for an alternative to going into the city to shop for fresh food on the weekends,” she says.

In addition to its convenient hours of operation, the South Bronx Farmers Market is in a key location with heavy foot traffic. On 138th Street in Mott Haven, it will operate directly across from the bustling 138th Street subway station, and on the same street as a community farm. The Bronx is also well-located for farmers traveling from upstate New York.

The City Farms Markets program provides training and resources for community members looking for ways to make fresh, local food affordable in their neighborhood. Just Food provides market insurance and trains markets to accept SNAP/EBT, FMNP, and WIC, making the markets accessible to low-income community members. Currently, there are 28 community-run markets in the City Farms Market network.

While the South Bronx Farmers Market has had tremendous community support from the beginning, Lily believes that Just Food’s resources have been essential in successfully launching the market. The market’s initial interest meeting attracted over 20 community members, and Lily attended Just Food's market training with four neighbors.

“The training was paramount, and it was helpful that all five of us were able to attend. Just Food has helped connect us to different farmers and gardeners to sell their produce at our market,” she says. “We also established relationships with other new markets at the training, so we can discuss tips and information with each other.”

In addition to completing the market training, Lily has extensive knowledge of urban agriculture. She is a current Farm School NYC student, a Master Composter, and a Just Food City Chickens Trainer. Lily also runs Brook Park Chickens, a volunteer-run chicken coop in the South Bronx.

“I’m interested in connecting farming with business and marketing. I wanted to create a market that was stable and viable for farmers while helping my community,” Lily says.

Click here for more information on the South Bronx Farmers Market, or follow them on Twitter @SoBxFarmMarket.

Want to start your own farmers' market? To apply for the Market Training Program in 2015, contact Nadia Johnson at nadia@justfood.org or 212.645.9880 x237.