For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Thomas, 901-946-9675
South Memphis residents, institutional leaders, and elected officials will gather tomorrow at 2 pm to celebrate the opening of the city’s newest farmers market. Heather Peeler, Chief Strategy Officer of the Corporation for National & Community Service, the agency responsible for managing the nation’s VISTA, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Service America Programs will serve as the keynote speaker at the dedication of the South Memphis Farmers Market located on the former site of the Carter Fish Market on the northeast corner of Mississippi Boulevard and South Parkway East. Ms. Peeler comes to the Corporation from Community Wealth Ventures (CWV), where she served as Managing Director, focusing on nonprofit services, business development and strategy. Heather brings an expertise on nonprofit sustainability, social enterprise and nonprofit strategy to her position at the Corporation. She has consulted and coached nonprofit leaders on best practices to identify and execute strategies that lead to greater mission impact and organizational sustainability. Prior to joining CWV, Peeler held leadership positions with nonprofits and for-profit companies. She served as the Executive Director of Small Press Distribution, a nonprofit located in Berkeley, CA; Managing Editor for Foundation News & Commentary; and co-founder of GenArt/SF, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to increasing young people's participation in the visual arts.
The South Memphis Farmers Market is co-sponsored by the South Memphis Renaissance Collaborative and the South Memphis Revitalization Action Project. Among the local organizations supporting the Market are: Saint Andrew AME Church, Saint Augustine RC Church, The Works Inc., the University of Memphis, the Memphis Regional Design Center, the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Service, the Cooper Young Community Markets, MLGW, Grow Memphis, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, the Victor-Kerr Neighborhood Association, and the Soulsville Neighborhood Association.
Ten area farmers will be participating in the South Market Farmers Market which seeks to bring high quality, moderately priced, and culturally appropriate fruits, vegetables, and food products to the residents of South Memphis who are currently without a full service super market. The proposal to create a community-based and controlled market in South Memphis emerged during an early meeting of the South Memphis Revitalization Action Project planning process. During the past three months, a committee of fifteen local residents, institutional leaders, and University representatives have worked together to clear debris from the market site, work with area children to produce a beautiful 35 foot x 10 foot mural, recruit farmers, and inform residents about the opening of the market. For the past three days, local residents have stood at the intersection of Mississippi Boulevard and South Parkway East with large signs reading “South Memphis Farmers Market Opens This Thursday 2 pm – Be There!”.
“For many years, our neighborhood has been without a super market where residents could purchase affordable fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. Our community’s diet and health has suffered as a result of this situation. The opening of the South Memphis Farmers Market is an important first step towards transforming South Memphis from a “food desert” into a “food oasis”, said Karen McGhee, a member of the South Memphis Revitalization Project Advisory Committee. “The successful opening of the South Memphis Farmers Market is the latest evidence of the very active grassroots improvement effort that is taking root in South Memphis” stated Curtis Thomas, Deputy Executive director, of The Works Inc.