Mobile Farmers' Market

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2010: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Diane Wilson
Peta Wakan Tipi

Annual Reports

Information Products

Farmers Forum Presentation at NPSAS Conference 2015 (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cucurbits, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs


  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, farm-to-institution, market study
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, public participation, employment opportunities, social capital

    Proposal summary:

    Dream of Wild Health--a program of Peta Wakan Tipi-was established in 1998 as a way to "promote health in the Native community by expanding knowledge of and access to healthy indigenous foods and medicines." We grow out rare indigenous seeds that have been gifted to the farm, increasing the seed stock for future generations. We offer age-appropriate and culturally focused summer garden programs to Native youth, ages 8-18, who learn about healthy lifestyles and sustainable farming. The older kids develop leadership and basic job skills through paid work apprenticeships for the farm.

    We also produce an organic Market Garden that raises enough fresh produce to feed the youth who participate in our summer programs, stock a weekly farmers market at a location close to the American Indian community in Minneapolis, and make weekly donations to food shelves and elders programs. Our intent is to provide the urban Native community with access and education about the importance of healthy food. With diabetes and obesity at epidemic levels in our community, a nutritious diet is essential for improving the health of Native people.

    Each week throughout July and August the participants in our Garden Warriors program (ages 13-18) provide a weekly Farmers Market at a location convenient to the urban Native population in Minneapolis. Freshly picked produce is offered at low cost, with the understanding that many in our community cannot afford to buy fresh vegetables. We print flyers that the kids bring home to their families and promote the market on the Indian List Serve, an e-mail list that is widely used. The market not only provides produce to our target audience, it also has the potential for providing a source of earned income for the farm.

    In 2008 we received funding for a youth-led project, Native Youth Teach Healthy Diets (Learning to Love Vegetables!) to encourage participation in our Farmers Markets. The project was a success, with youth developing a public presentation and cookbook that encouraged families to cook healthy foods. Since that time, our continued outreach working with Native families has defined deeper challenges to choosing healthy foods at our Farmers Market. Native families suffer disproportionately from poverty and unemployment, making access a significant issue for both transportation and income. In 2010, we began to envision a Mobile Farmers Market that would deliver fresh produce directly to four organizations serving American Indian families, and offer both EBT and WIC access. We secured a small award from the Wallace Center (HUFED) to purchase a truck and complete a Food Needs Assessment in the St. Paul American Indian community.

    We are requesting funds from the SARE to:

    1) Help pay for stipends to hire a college-age intern, preferably a graduate of our programs, as well as one of our Youth Leaders, to run the Mobile Market: make deliveries, provide information about the produce, and keep detailed records. By hiring Native teens, we encourage them to act as advocates for healthy choices
    within their communities, while providing work experience, job skills, and a paycheck.

    2) Assist in publicizing the program to families with a press release, brochure about the program, weekly flyers, website updates, and distribution of our healthy cookbook.

    3) Support the costs of purchasing equipment for EBT access.
    Farmers in our area will benefit from the information we share about the food needs of the American Indian community in St. Paul and our Farmers Market experiences. With a thorough understanding of the challenges low-income people face in accessing healthy foods, we can create a food system that is equitable for all.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The specific goal for this project is to improve access to healthy foods for the American Indian community in St. Paul. In 2010, we kept detailed records of participation at our Payne Avenue market, establishing a benchmark against which we can measure improvement. Our records include type and amount of vegetables sold and number of people served through each market as a portion of the evaluation process. We will also track how much impact EBT and WIC access will have on our sales.

    We will have results of a Food Needs Questionnaire that will be distributed during the months prior as well as during the market season. With this insight into the practical needs of our customers, we can focus on growing and delivering the vegetables in greatest demand.

    We also believe in the importance of qualitative feedback, relying on the stories that we hear from people who buy our vegetables, or try a new dish in our cookbook, or taste kale for the first time. We’ll document the season with photographs that will be posted on our website. We will also rely on feedback from our youth participants, from our host organizations for each event, and from members of our community.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.