The Nashville Farmers’ Market is undergoing major renovations following financial troubles and disruptions caused by construction of the nearby Tennessee State Museum.
The renovations will include:
- A new H-VAC system
- A grand entrance – The new opening on the north side of the market will face the new state museum. Officials say they hope the entrance and accompanying landscaping will help tie the sites together as part of the Bicentennial Mall.
- A waste center – The recycling and composting center will help the market meet its goal of becoming a zero-waste facility by 2020.
- An urban farm residency program – Rally House Farms and Bass Farms will begin growing lettuce, herbs and micro-greens on-site at the market house beginning this winter.
- Additional retail space – The market house will replace its old waste center with 1,500 square feet of new space for vendors.
Although the overhaul will affect many parts of the market, it’s all part of the “Growing Together” initiative, which aims to focus on the serving the community according to executive director, Tasha Kennard.
The market is kicking off that effort by awarding 70 percent of construction contracts to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. Kennard says the site will also house educational workshops on how to prepare food bought at the market as well as an artisan residency program.
But opportunity at the market isn’t limited to small business owners. A couple of the farms joining NFM’s ranks are opting into its “Fresh Savings” program which accepts federal SNAP funds and doubles the foodstamps to help low-income shoppers stretch their food budget.
"We really want to maintain that accessibility," Kennard says. "Not just for the neighborhood that we live in but the whole community, to be able to come here and utilize your EBT card and eat fresh healthy produce at home.”