Do you know what Atlanta’s eastern intown neighborhoods could use? A Tuesday afternoon farmers market. Not everyone can get to a farmers market on the weekend, when schedules are already crammed with errands, kid stuff and social events. And though there’s a market on Wednesdays in Decatur, Thursdays in East Atlanta, and Fridays at Truly Living Well’s Wheat Street Garden, on Tuesdays the nearest farmers market is in Smyrna.
Last week, east Intown did get a new market, but unfortunately it’s when the neighborhood needs it least. The Old Fourth Ward Farmers Market debuted Saturday, less than one mile from the thriving Freedom Farmers Market. Morningside Farmers Market and Peachtree Road Farmers Market—among others—are just a short drive away, forcing both shoppers and farmers to choose which one to support.
O4W founder Dozie Ike, also a livestock farmer and managing director with Regionally Right farm collective in Bartow County, says the scheduling came down to availability. The new market’s location—the Southern Dairies parking lot—is otherwise used as the valet parking lot for neighboring 4th & Swift.
“I stood at Southern Dairies for years staring at that parking lot, wondering how I could bring life to it,” the former Old Fourth Ward resident says. “I wanted to preserve the community that was changing before my eyes.”
If it better serves the neighborhood, Ike says, he is willing to explore other options, such as moving the market to another day. On its first Saturday, the market hosted three vendors—Regionally Right, Pearson Farm peaches, and Lion Tamer Bread— and saw a steady trickle of shoppers, most arriving on foot. Which is exactly what Ike had hoped for.
“I did not start a market in the O4W to compete with Kroger, Whole Foods, or even Freedom,” he says. “This is a really simple farmers market concept with only the staple options to choose from. The press and all is great, but if it were up to me, this community market would be kept under wraps. Many great things end up too big and revenue-driven after discovery.”
Update: The story has been updated to include Truly Living Well’s Wheat Street Garden on Fridays.