Govanstowne Farmers’ Market fueled by success of the York Road Initiative
As summer heats up, the Govanstowne Farmers’ Market is back to refresh an area in need. Driven by the success of the York Road Initiative, it gives area residents access to local produce, seasonal fruit, fresh breads, and artisan goods they wouldn’t have otherwise. Transportation and public safety headquarters hosts the event at its 5104 York Road location on Wednesdays throughout the summer from June 6 – August 8.
The market is a shining success story made possible through the York Road Initiative, established in 2008 by Loyola President Brian Linnane, S.J., motivated by following the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Father Linnane saw a need to engage a materially poor section of the York Road Corridor, from the east side of the Evergreen campus to the Loyola Clinical Centers at Belvedere Square, by making Loyola an active, productive member of the community. At the time, the York Road Corridor included rundown commercial stretches and a methadone clinic that attracted some crime.
Through discussions with area residents on the Loyola is Listening project, Loyola established the strengths, needs, and unmistakable atmosphere of community. The nationally ranked Sellinger School of Business and AmeriCorps Vista member Jon Hourcade were chosen to spearhead the business end of the project with a goal of strengthening the commercial area.
Not only does this project strengthen Loyola’s ties to the community it gives students the chance to partner with businesses on projects. They hone business plans, devise new marketing materials, and find other sources of funding and aid for the area, gaining invaluable industry experience. Additionally, they work on websites and social media projects for several local associations and businesses such as the Bombay Garden Restaurant and Neutral Grounds Café, a restaurant that employs former prison inmates and serves as a mentoring program.
York Road Initiative Director Erin O’Keefe provides leadership on the implementation of this project by working with the 20-plus-member University task force as well as the York Road community members, neighborhood associations, businesses and schools to coordinate resources in the York Road area. Recently, her hard work certainly paid off as area sidewalks are repaired and roads repaved for the first time in decades.
The Govanstowne Farmer’s Market will be held from 3 – 7 p.m. and features vendors Dangerously Delicious Pies, Bees by the Bay, the Breadery, and Simple Pleasures Ice Café.