The Revere Farmer’s Market may not be one of the largest in the area, but it is serving a broader area by becoming an incubator for the growing small businesses feeding the food economy.
Last year Revere on the Move completed a report on the food economy with Tufts University Urban Environmental and Planning Program. Part of the report, was gathering information; as part of that, they noted that they were getting calls from people who wanted to come sell their food at the Farmer’s Market, but didn’t have the licenses and permits to formalize their businesses.
“In our Farmer’s Market we’ve seen it become a smaller business incubation space,” said Dimple Rana, director of healthy community initiatives department for Revere on the Move. “Over the years, we’ve had businesses like Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery, who originated at the farmer’s market and now has a location at the Boston Market and she’s looking at a second location as well.”
Other businesses getting their start at the farmer’s market include Chocolaffe and Maninuts, which joined the Farmer’s Market to help get their brand out. Another baker ended up receiving a wholesale license and going in to business.
All of this contributes to the local food economy, a term for everything food – grocery stores, little stores, ethnic stores, farmer’s markets, convenience stores, growing foods, making food, transporting foods, restaurants, obesity, hunger and more.
The department is also looking at creating a food truck ordinance and designating food service parking areas. They are also speaking to the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) and the MBTA about the possibility of food trucks parked at the beach. The area in mind would be near the Markey Bridge because there aren’t any competing businesses.
This summer Revere on the Move is also piloting a night market series to bring to Revere the taste of various food cuisines. The first one kicks off on June 22 at Donnelly Square in Beachmont. Other dates will be July 13 at Sanborn Square and Aug. 10 at the American Legion Lawn.
“We want to highlight the diversity of cuisine that’s in Revere,” Rana said. “This is all a part of a larger food system, food access.”
Rana explained that Revere has been found to have a food insecurity (not having enough food) and a high obesity rate.
“It’s about getting access to healthy food,” Rana said.
Part of that is also growing food. Rana said they are working with the Revere Housing Authority to have a pilot program for hydroponic slabs to grow food indoors at the Hyman Towers. There will also be an indoor farmer’s market and hopefully it can be run year-round. Outdoors, there are community gardens at the high school and Gibson Park. Some of what is grown in these gardens can be sold at the farmer’s market, and even to local businesses.