The Millsmont Farmers Market Oakland started last year with some fanfare. The idea of the June to October market, sponsored by Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks of District Six and certified by the Alameda County Agricultural Commissioner, was to bring fresh organic produce to lower-income communities in Oakland.
Now, in 2018, the Millsmont Farmers Market is closed. Councilmember Brooks posted this entry on her Instagram and Facebook pages:
A year and a half ago, my office sponsored an experimental initiative to bring farm fresh fruits and vegetables to our East Oakland community; to have a safe place to meet your neighbors and make new friends; and to continue my personal goals to create a place to build a stronger community.
While the Millsmont Farmers Market was a success in meeting these goals, it has required a significant amount of work by my staff and myself leading in to each Summer Saturday to achieve the critical balance of the number of vendors to attract more people and sufficient people to maintain and attract more vendors.
The work has been a labor of love. I have loved my Saturdays getting to know the vendors during early morning set up and then seeing the first shoppers arrive before the 9am opening to get the first pick. Meeting so many local seniors and families, introducing kids to new foods, and helping to make my community – especially each Saturdays lucky winner of the “Market Basket” – go home with healthy foods has brought a special joy each Summer weekend.
With all this said, it is hard for me to have to say that we will need to pause the Millsmont Farmers Market until further notice. There will be no Farmers Market until further notice.
There are a number of reasons forcing us to make this difficult decision. Not enough people attended to make the market profitable for the farmers, competition from other year-round farmers markets and the need for far more resources to enable the Millsmont Farmers Market to continue being the primary ones.
I have already heard from many of our market regulars about how disappointed you are and really appreciate your follow up question of “what can we do to continue the market?”
To this last question, I will be working with my staff, regulars and my volunteers to discuss potential options. If you valued the Millsmont Farmers Market and would like to help decide on options or have any questions I can answer, please email me at [email protected]
Always in your service,
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media