Growing Hope is an Ypsilanti nonprofit that has been serving the community since 1999. Their mission is to use locally grown, healthy food help develop the people, environment, and community at large in the city. Branching off of this wide mission, Growing Hope has recently implemented a grand new idea for the city of developing an all-season Farmer’s Market. Growing Hope aims for the project to increase healthy food access, increase economic viability, and provide a place for people in the community to come together.
The nonprofit had previously started the downtown farmer’s market on Tuesdays in 2006, while also starting the Depot Town Saturday market in 2013. The crazy Michigan temperatures keep the downtown market from running all year, so Growing Hope decided to create a plan for building a year round market. In choosing a spot for this market to be constructed on, Growing Hope wanted to make sure it was in downtown, to help spur some economic revitalization in that area of the city. Two long-vacant properties, a warehouse and small former bank-drive through that are arranged back to back, were chosen for the site of the market. These properties are generously leased by Barnes & Barnes, who has been a great partner to Growing Hope in the development of this project.
The market will be arranged on the parking lot during the warmer months, and indoors in the large warehouse during the winter and cold months. It is projected to host over eighty-five vendors over the course of the year, selling locally grown and raised foods, vegetation, and locally made crafts. The farmers market will offer more opportunities for local vendors to sell their products as well as allow community members to spend their money at a local level. In addition to the actual farmers market, the new site hosts Ypsiplanti, which is a retail garden supply shop, providing organic garden supplies, trendy succulent plants, and a whole slew of other garden-related items. The old bank building also hosts a surprisingly large basement, which is currently being converted into a facility with a walk-in cooler to become a hub for a micro-kitchen. Growing Hope is currently in the process of obtaining a food license for this facility so that vendors and start-ups can rent it out to make product. Along with the walk-in, GH is currently fundraising for a commercial incubator kitchen to be put in the facility, which will also be available to local vendors who wish to rent it out to make product in.
The warehouse space will be available to house community events, open to whoever may need it. The nonprofit hopes that the entire facility brings a growth in the downtown area’s economy, as well as a resurgence in the community activity in the downtown area.
While Growing Hope is currently leasing the space, they hope to one day raise enough funds to buy the property. They are always looking for local donations to aid them in their fundraising. To offer a donation, visit their website www.growinghope.net/get-involved/donate.