What happens when public markets meets the public selection for micro-finance and alternative philanthropy? The handling fees waged on our wooden token currency -- The Crescent -- provides the capital for marketumbrella.org's spring and autumn cash infusion for projects that yield public benefit. Results for the June 2011 selection process are in.
Over 800 votes were cast in our recent Crescent Fund election. This time round the Sankofa Farmers Market community came out as winners in two categories: community groups and public market vendors. The Sankofa Farmers Market's culinary classes for children and Sankofa Farmers Market vendor Nature Provides' greenhouse construction project will each receive $500 in cash infusions.
Classes for Children at the Sankofa Farmers Market: In order to encourage and promote fruit and vegetable consumption in the Lower 9th Ward, the Sankofa Farmers Market will use this cash infusion to implement a series of free culinary classes for children at the market. Funding will enable the market to purchase fresh produce from market vendors, food preparation materials, a $5 incentive token for youth participants, and development of a recipe card.
Relief funds will also be sent to the Sunday Beach Market in Hata, Japan: In the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and Tsunami, our farmers market friends in Japan set up their own version of a farmers market-based Crescent Fund. As a community, we decided to infuse our dollars to support their efforts to translate civic engagement at the Sunday Beach Market into financial solidarity to the agricultural region in the immediate wake of the disaster. The Japanese efforts are spearheaded by visionary public art leader Kazu Azechi and farmers market researcher and author Ryoko Sato. Inspired by Japanese philosopher Takashi Uchiyama’s idea of cold money and warm money, the Sunday Beach Market's "3.11 One Percent Project" collects one percent from shoppers, vendors and the market administration to allocate “warm” money to build relationships between people by investing in human needs in the earthquake zone. This is the same group who raised $7,000 to establish the Crescent Fund after Hurricane Katrina.
Twice each year we award funds to projects that reinforce our belief in linking public markets with public good. Recipients pay back the market community in time, talent or treasure. The market community raises these funds via an optional $1 requested when shoppers purchase tokens at our Crescent City Farmers Market. Thank you to everyone who voted and to everyone who invests in our market community throughout the year!
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.