5th Avenue farmers market opens Saturday

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.

Get ready for the inaugural Pleasant Street Farmers & Cultural Arts Market.



What: Pleasant Street Farmers & Cultural Arts Market with vendors and entertainment.
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: NW 5th Avenue and 10th Street.
Miscellaneous: Additional vendors also are being accepted.
Information: Call 352-682-7132 or email Blaac2basics@cox.net.

Organizers have chosen a diverse group of vendors, all of whom will be there to help empower the community.

The market will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the lot on the northeast corner of Northwest 5th Avenue and 10th Street in the heart of the once vibrant black business community.

Terri Bailey is organizing the market under the auspices of Bailey Learning and Arts Collective, an organization she founded, in collaboration with the POWER Group, or People Organized Working Empowered and Renewed, whose mission is to increase awareness of the historical value of the Pleasant Street neighborhood and to increase revitalization efforts in the area.

Bailey said the mission of the market, scheduled to be held the first Saturday of each month, will be to provide local artisans, craftsmen, designers, entrepreneurs and farmers with an opportunity to present the fruits of their labor to the community. She also emphasized that the success of the market will depend on community support, adding that parking will be available at the Wilhelmina Johnson Resource Center at 321 NW 10th St.

"That is the only way this is going to work and grow," Bailey said. "Vendors are going to have to see it is worth their while and they are going to determine that by the amount of foot traffic that flows through the market."

Bailey also is still looking for more vendors. Those interested should contact her at 352-682-7132 or by email at Blaac2basics@cox.net.

This month, live entertainment will be provided by Gainesville recording artist Rashon Medlock, an indie-soul musician who released his first full-length LP last year titled "Light, Love and Life."

Also on Saturday, the market will feature produce from the Black Farmers Agriculturalist Association of Florida, which is headquartered in Ocala, and there will be produce sold by interns with the Florida Organic Growers Inc. Other vendors will include Bonnie Henderson, an Avon representative who will have products for sale and also share information on becoming a rep; Kristen Amaral, a massage therapist, and Just Health Care of the Alachua County Labor Party with information on U.S. House Bill 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act.

"We will be there because we believe health care is a right and we want to inform people about the bill in Congress," said Marie Dino, coordinator of Just Health Care. "We will be collecting health care surveys on insurance and collecting signatures for a petition for the bill, as well as passing out literature."

Howard Gunn Jr. of Ocala, president of the black farmers group, said the group is participating in the market because it wants to promote healthy and nutritious eating habits.

"We realize a lot of our communities are food deserts, and one way we can help is by bringing healthy and nutritious food to them," said Gunn, adding that it is critical to teach young people about healthy food and farming. "Just as important, we want to do what we can to help this community project. I'm not that familiar with the area, but I've driven through there before and I know it used to be the heart of the black community in Gainesville."

Henderson of Gainesville feels the market is a perfect place for her to show people in the community how they can empower themselves with a $10 investment. She said Avon is very much a part of the technology world, which eliminates the need for Avon reps to go door-to-door to make sales.

"We're the only business you can get into for only $10," Henderson said. "You don't have to knock on doors now because we live in a different society and Avon recognizes that."

Bailey said the market has been in the planning stages for some time, but it is now time to make it happen.

"This is simply a way to bring fresh produce and food to the community that is locally grown and a way to link the community and resources in the community together," Bailey said.

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