The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC) is pleased to announce June 6 as the opening day of the NECIC North End Farmers’ Market. The market, held every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., is located inside the NECIC Blust Avenue Teaching Garden, 417 Blust Avenue, Mansfield, making it one of the most unique markets in the area.
“On opening day, we’ll have free refreshments and entertainment by local musicians Hugo Nida and Weston Dennis,” said NECIC Teaching Garden Coordinator and Farmers’ Market Manager Mona Kneuss. “Everyone should come, meet the vendors, and help us kick off our season. And remember, we still offer double Ohio Direction Card purchases up to $20 with our SNAP Match program.”
The SNAP Match program is made possible through a grant from the Fran and Warren Rupp Donor Advised Fund of the Richland County Foundation, she said. Ohio Direction Card purchases are matched up to $20 each week. The SNAP Match tokens may be spent only on fruits, vegetables, meat, and honey, as outlined by the grant.
The North End Farmers’ Market is a program of North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC), a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Mansfield’s North End community. Fresh food access plays a large role in that mission, said NECIC Community Development Manager Tony Chinni.
“The North End Farmers’ Market is grassroots community economic development,” he said. “Not only does it provide much needed access to fresh food in a USDA Fresh Food Desert, the market is an opportunity for small growers and entrepreneurs to reach new customers and earn extra money.
Confirmed vendors include The Odd Sprout Farm with fresh produce; Share ‘N Dipity with baked goods; Downtown Greens with fresh produce; Indigo featuring clothing, jewelry, and decorative items; Byrd’s Bees with fresh, local honey and produce; and Scentsy, featuring scented wax melts and more. More vendors will attend as the season progresses, Kneuss said.
Kneuss noted that special events will take place during the market this year, from vendor cooking challenges and chef demos to music, entertainment, and prizes. “On the Fourth of July, we’ll have music, food, and face-painting. The day will include a competition for the most festive holiday wear, with the winner receiving $20 in Market Bucks, our farmers’ market gift certificates.” More events will be announced during the season on their Facebook page.
Those interested in vending, providing entertainment, or holding a cooking demonstration should contact Mona Kneuss at 419-522-1611 or Mona@necic-ohio.org.