Monday, July 5, 2010
Avondale neighborhood, in Cincinnati, Ohio declared independence from fast, processed junk food. Lisa Bussey, braving hot weather, crime and the odds, opened the Summerville Farmer's Market on 3166 Reading Road. Lisa started working on the market concept late this spring, by that time most farmers were already committed to other markets, so she opened the market with produce from her own garden (right on the lot) and supplemented with produce from wholesalers in the area. Fresh from her garden yesterday were tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, hot peppers and collards. She said the church folk (there are several in the area), were especially delighted to see her pick the greens right out of the garden! The market itself is still in development in many ways, Lisa is still physically enhancing the property (formerly a vacant lot), actively looking for vendors and just now starting to promote her fresh food oasis. While she had a decent turnout yesterday with no marketing, she recognizes the value of promoting the location (build it and they will come only goes so far). There are many perks, Reading Road is a high traffic area in the neigbhorhood, there is no competition and the lot is secured with chain link fencing. I will be working with her to get the word out. So far, that has been somewhat of a challenge given the distance (4 hours from Cleveland to Cincinnati), previous business commitments that consumed a lot of Lisa's time and the fact that she is more of an email/text versus telephone person (as I am, but that has its limits). While this is primarily an entrepreneurial venture for Lisa (though she does have a passion for gardening), she has come to see the longer term value of the services that she is providing to the community. Viewing the venture from this green and socially responsible lens, has deepened her commitment to bringing fresh food to this food desert. One aspect of my marketing plan is to work with other urban farmers and church member in the area to supplement Lisa's produce and baked goods or to set up boothes at Summerville Market. This will also help to spread buzz in the community about the market and generate support. The possibilities are endless as people are starving for this kind of product and good news. She could use some moral, physical, spirtual and financial support, especially in this economy, so if you are in Cincinnati, stop by the Summerville Market at 3166 Reading Road and give her a shout. The market will be open today from noon to 4pm.