March 25th, 2010

Roots in the City Farmers Market launches in Overtown


Yesterday I stopped by the opening of the Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown. A collaboration between the Wholesome Wave Foundation, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, the Human Services Coalition and Roots in the City, the market aims to make fresh, nutritional food accessible by making it affordable.

As a pilot for the Wholesome Wave “Nourishing Neighborhoods” double value coupon program, the market accepts food stamps and doubles their value for purchases made at the market.

When I arrived I picked up a few fresh veggies to bring home and then met Maggi Pons, grower and market manager of Roots in the City. Roots in the City is a project launched by Marvin Dunn, an author, historian and FIU professor, to create jobs and build community by planting gardens and nurseries.

The first Roots in the City garden

The first Roots in the City garden

Pons enthusiastically showed me around the organization’s three gardens where anything from tomatoes to collard greens to papayas to key limes grow. Chefs and some local stores buy produce from them as do the people in the community. Now they’ll have it at the market every Wednesday along with the produce of farmers Michael and Teena Borek from Teena’s Pride and Margie Pikarsky from Bee Heaven Farm. These farmers traveled from Redland to support the effort. As Pons explained, the more money they can generate from selling produce, the more jobs they can create. Plus, people will have access to healthy foods.

Michael Borek from Teena's Pride

Michael Borek from Teena's Pride

I was there near closing time so things seemed to be slowing down but it was truly great to see the enthusiasm of the people who are working on this effort and the interest of people trickling in to see what the market is about. Make sure you get out there and support it.

The Roots in the City Farmers Market is open every Wednesday until the end of April from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and 10th Street. Cash and EBT transactions accepted. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for April 7.


The Human Coalition Services EBT booth


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15 Responses to “Roots in the City Farmers Market launches in Overtown”

  1. This is exciting. It’s exciting to see all of the developments in MIA food so far in 2010, no?

  2. I saw the gang from Bee Heaven come into MGFD yesterday for dinner. Mustve just finished up. This is a great idea and service.

  3. @Trina – You’re right; we’ve come far in 2010. Hopefully a sign of more good things to come. I was so impressed by Maggi. She’s very passionate about their gardens and told me that people in the community really love helping out. It’s good that chefs are interested in having them grow produce for them too.

    @SteveBM – Lucky you and Bee Heaven. :)

  4. Oh, we’re BUSTED, Steve! A fitting end to an exciting market launch day. We were tired and hungry and Michael took us in and fed us in his usual lavish way. I didn’t get back to the farm until after 9pm, but it was worth it-the best way to avoid rush hour traffic I could imagine! Looking forward to next week’s market and lots more customers. We have a large and diverse clientele within a few blocks’ radius, and we have something for everyone. Bring your cash or your EBT card and get FRESH and LOCAL veggies straight from the farm, and, at our booth, ORGANIC to boot!

  5. Thanks so much for the link! We’re so excited to be a part of the Roots in the City market and to help bring access to fresh food to underserved communities in Florida!

  6. Selling local produce to good folks in Overtown was the best day I have had in a long time! The customers were so nice, and thrilled to get double value for food stamps! There were plenty of cash customers too, since real food knows no income limits.

    My friends in Liberty City need a Farmer’s Market, too. Let’s work on it!

  7. And the perfect ending to a perfect day was having all of us from the Bee Heaven Farm/Redland Organics stand go over to Michael’s Genuine for multiple foodgasms!!!!!! Thank you real food friend Michael, and Bradley, Eddy, and all the staff!

  8. […] (with lots of good information) here. And Mango & Lime posted her report on the market opening here. Miss Sarah tells it like it is to the […]

  9. This is awesome news! My husband recently told me about it after hearing a report on it on NPR.

    Next step I’d love to see across all farmer’s markets in Miami are simple laminated “Bio” posters for every stall.

    This would allow new-comers to the markets to quickly see a little about the farm they’re about to purchase from. The posters that stands would have in NYC would include a small map with a star where the farm was located in the state, a quick bio of the owners and most importantly, an explanation of what sorts of practices the farms implemented on their farm (sustainable, organic, conventional, etc).

    This made it really easy to explore new farmers markets and to decide to purchase if the folks heading the stand were too busy filling order requests to explain their farm.

  10. Margie, how could Steve BM not miss us? We were all still wearing our work aprons with the Bee Heaven logo. As ever, the food at MG’s was was fabulous. Thanks, Michael! If you can’t wait till Sunday to shop, come to the Overtown market on Wednesday. It’s the same fresh, local and organic fruits and veggies that Margie sells at the Pinecrest Market, no difference in quality.

  11. Hey, Nadia,
    Great ideas! At our market booth, we always post our organic certification, and we have a poster with an outline of the state of Florida, and a shaded blowup showing exactly where our farm and our farm partners are located, so you can see at a glance that ALL our produce is grown in the South Florida area (as in Lake Okeechobee south). We don’t currently have a ‘bio’, but we’ve done similar things in the past, and we sometimes highlight one particular item with a blurb or picture of the grower.
    Sadly, a lot of the people running produce stands at local outdoor markets have no clue who grew what, since they source the boxes of stuff at packinghouses (which often specialize in packingimported crops) and/or the terminal market. A lot of the produce isn’t even from the US, let alone from Florida! (Hint: look under the table or behind their booths to see the labels on the produce boxes- you’ll receive quite an education.)

  12. Girl, you’re making me homesick. First, a photo of Melissa, then of Michael, and then all your delicious descriptions.

    Great project by great people. Thanks for posting this!

  13. […] Roots in the City market is also coming to a close soon. On a visit to the market today, market manager Maggi Pons told me […]

  14. […] Greater Everglades Summit are working on. There are so many other things to look forward to, too: Roots in the City will reopen in November; due to demand, the Pinecrest Farmers Market will open earlier (Nov. 7) and […]

  15. […] can find Ben Thacker, the program’s director, and a few of his students at the Roots in the City Market (Wednesdays 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. at the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and 10th Street) selling the […]

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