On Sunday, June 5, 2005, exactly two years and 39 days after the one remaining local supermarket at Sherman Plaza was permanently closed, Madison’s Mayor Dave Cieslewicz joined market organizers, shoppers and musicians to mark the launch of the Northside Farmers Market. On Sundays from May thru October, vendors sell their locally produced foods at Sherman Plaza. In doing so, they ease area community members’ lack of access to fresh, nutritious, and affordable foods.
Thanks to the special diligence of Northsiders to make nutritious food available to all, eligible shoppers can use their Quest funds at the Market in a pilot program of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “Simply opening a farmer’s market wouldn’t do it for our community,” affirmed Lisa Wiese, Board President of the Northside Community Co-op, appointed by the Mayor to the Dane County Local Food Policy Advisor Sub-Committee.
Many volunteers joined the Northside Community Co-op in the project, contributing generously of their time, creative energy, expertise and clout. The Northside Planning Council, Northside News, local farmers, Friends of Troy Gardens, the State Department of Health and Family Services, and managers from the Eastside and Southside farmers markets are among contributors. In an unprecedented show of community spirit, Sherman Plaza owners Don and Dave Bruns insisted on not only donating space for the Market, but on subsidizing vendor leftovers bound for food pantries.
Our location is especially appropriate since in years past the Plaza site housed Bruns’ family dairy farm that helped to feed the Madison community until the 1960’s.
Against stiff competition, the Market was approved for funding by the Mayor’s Allied Emerging Neighborhoods Fund. Mayor Dave’s enthusiasm for the project is evidenced by his willingness to reserve time on a Sunday morning to cut the ceremonial ribbon and officially open Madison’s newest farmers market.