At the foot of the entrance to the business corridor in the Raleigh area is where a farmer’s market is envisioned as a source point for healthier living.
State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, who represents the area, and Mayor Jim Strickland announced the creation of the Raleigh Farmers Market and Community Park at the site on Austin Peay on Monday.
“In addition to the Farmers Market, there will be a walking trail, a little league football field, and, in a later phase, an amphitheater,” said Parkinson. “Our people will have access to more healthy food choices and education about how to live a healthier lifestyle. It will be a community gathering place, a place where the village can be restored.”
There will also be designated spaces for food trucks and other vendors who would like to have access to shoppers and others in the community park. Parkinson envisions a place for.
“The land at 3219 Austin Peay Highway is very important. It’s at the foot of the entrance to our business corridor. It was used to store equipment for completing the Raleigh Millington Bridge,” Parkinson.
“After that, it was going to be used to store salt for treating icy road conditions. I went to our Department of Transportation, and I said, ‘Look, we should have a Farmers Market there instead. They agreed it was better use of the property.’”
The land is owned by the city.
“Projects like this are exactly the type of redevelopment we want to see,” Strickland said. “With the help of Rep. Parkinson, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and our Division of Housing and Community Development, we’re working with community groups to reimagine old structures and give them new life.”
Rhonda Logan, executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corporation (CDC), said the Farmers Market will be one of the area’s most exciting visions.
“I got involved when I took office at the CDC in January of 2018,” said Logan.
“We presently operate a Farmers Market on the third Saturday of each month at Breath of Life Christian Center. People come from Frayser, Raleigh-Bartlett, South Memphis, really from all over the city. We give live demonstrations on eating healthier meals that can be made very easily: cooking with a crock pot, 30-minute meals and making vegetarian meals.”
Fundraising for planning and construction, said Logan.
“We already have wonderful community partners who have come forward to be a part of this great movement,” said Logan. “Of course, this includes Raleigh Community Development Corporation, the City of Memphis, Methodist North Hospital, Slow Foods Memphis, the University of Memphis, and the Shelby County Government. We’re off to a great start.”
The Farmers Market will also have a mobile component to serve inner-city communities where food deserts are,” Parkinson said.
“Neighborhoods in North Memphis, South Memphis, all over the city where economics is a barrier in healthier eating, the mobile unit will cover.”
In the first phase of building, the Farmers Market pavilion will anchor the community park. Later phases will see the football field, walking trail, and amphitheatre built.
(More information is available at: 901-209-5010.)