FRESHFARM’s Dupont Circle Market will open a Thursday afternoon market to provide more space for vendors and increase diversity and inclusion.
The announcement comes in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Dupont Circle Market, the largest farmers market in Washington, D.C. Launching May 5, the Thursday market will host around 10 to 15 vendors. The Sunday morning Dupont Circle Market will also expand to include a dozen extra vendors beginning April 3. Most of the new vendors will represent groups that have historically been excluded from agriculture.
In 2020, FRESHFARM faced backlash due to the Dupont Circle Market’s lack of diversity and inclusion. Vendors and patrons criticized the organization for tokenizing Black vendors at the market, as well as for a lack of transparency in the application process to become a vendor at the market.
The expansion of the market is geared toward providing opportunities for vendors from disadvantaged groups in the agricultural industry. This comes in an effort to align with the goals set by FRESHFARM for diversity and inclusion.
Juliet Glass, director of communications and marketing at FRESHFARM, said the organization believes the District will support the expansion of the market.
“FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market is our flagship and has been operating for 25 years,” Glass wrote. “The market is known throughout the city and region and we have an incredibly loyal customer base, so we felt that the neighborhood could support the market on an additional day of the week.”
The additional day allows for expanded shopping opportunities for patrons and growth opportunities for new vendors, according to Glass.
“The Sunday expansion will give us shoppers more elbow room and also give FRESHFARM an opportunity to add additional farmers and producers,” Glass wrote to The Hoya. “In 2021, there were 64 farmers and producers in the Main Season (April to December) including regular and pop-up vendors. In the 2022 Main Season with the expansion, the number of farmers and producers at each market will be closer to 70, but our “pool” of farmers and producers will be about 75 if you include pop-ups.”
The Thursday market will feature local alternatives to traditional grocery store produce, according to Glass.
“The focus for the Thursday market will be grocery food items — raw fruits and vegetables, proteins, cheese, bread, etc.,” Glass wrote. “Like all our markets, the Thursday market will be Producer-Only meaning that everything sold at the market is grown or made by the person selling it.”
FRESHFARM, which opened its first market in Dupont Circle in 1997, has now expanded to a network of 28 markets throughout the D.C. metropolitan area, featuring producers from within a 200-mile radius of the District. Aside from its markets, FRESHFARM also works to improve equitable food access across the District.
In addition to improving diversity at the Dupont Circle Market, expanding offerings on Sunday and Thursday will support economic growth as the District recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to FRESHFARM Executive Director Hugo Mogollon.
“Farmers markets are an essential business, providing communities with a vital food access point,” Mogollon wrote in a press release. “We proudly kept the Dupont Circle market open throughout the pandemic and we saw a spike in shopping. The expansion will help relieve shopper congestion and also allow us to add new farmers and producers to the market, aligning with the District’s COVID recovery goals and advancing economic development for small businesses.”
According to Glass, the market will now be able to provide increased opportunities to farmers and producers from marginalized communities, which aligns with FRESHFARM’s mission.
“FRESHFARM works to create a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable food future,” Glass wrote. “We develop innovative ways to solve critical problems across our regional food system and connect people to their food through hands-on education, farmers markets, and food distribution programs. So creating economic opportunities for all farmers and producers, including those from marginalized groups, is part of our mission and essential to creating a strong regional food system that works for everyone.”
Leave a Reply