For several seasons, the Allen Street Farmers Market has provided a much-appreciated community gathering space for residents in Lansing, Michigan’s Eastside neighborhood. Through a PPS grant, the market strengthened community identity and pride by offering social programming, festivals, and volunteer opportunities. Market organizers hoped that through their efforts they would send the message to residents that the Allen Street Farmers Market was a place where community could be experienced for people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Organizers of the market offered a number of inventive and educational events, including food-related festivals, health-related events, and marketing programs aimed at increasing usage by low-income residents. Overall, organizers felt confident that they had increased the market’s profile and the benefits of eating local food, especially to groups who had previously underutilized the market. Market organizers exceeded their initial objectives, effectively creating a place where the people of the Eastside neighborhood could come together and “hang out with a purpose.”