Community Center is seeking more vendors for Grand Marais Farmers Market
Kalli Hawkins

Community Center is seeking more vendors for Grand Marais Farmers Market

Although we have officially entered into spring, many along the North Shore of Minnesota still feel the lingering firm grasp of winter. 

Despite the 40 inches of snowpack in parts of Cook County, Sarah Waddle, the extension educator and director of the Cook County Community Center, has eagerly started planning for the upcoming farmers market season. 

The farmers market is held in the Community Center’s parking lot between mid-June and October each Thursday from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. It was previously known as the Cook County Local Foods Market. However, Waddle said the Community Center recently decided to change the name to “make it a little more clear.”

While there will be a trusted group of returning vendors from years prior, Waddle said there is plenty of space to include more vendors this year. She encourages aspiring gardeners or individuals with small farms to join in the annual community event. 

For a new vendor, Waddle said various permits might be required depending on the type of product sold. 

“I can also help you with that if you have an idea of something you’d like to sell at the farmers market and you’re not sure what category it would fit in or what sort of licenses you might have to pursue,” Waddle said. 

Returning and aspiring vendors can sign up and learn more here. In addition, there is an open house for all vendors on Tuesday, April 25, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Community Center. 

“There’s a lot of happy people who love to shop at the market,” Waddle said. “I think there’s plenty of additional demand for more things to be sold.”

In related news, a new organization called the Cook County Food Systems Network recently formed and held its first kickoff meeting on March 15. The meetings are facilitated by the Northwoods Food Project, the University of Minnesota Extension, Cook County Public Health and Human Services, and Cook County State Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

Waddle said the Cook County Food Systems Network is an opportunity for individuals excited about the local food system to collaborate and share ideas. Discussions during the meetings focus on community-driven topics, including growing the farmer’s markets, creating food coalitions, reviewing local food rules and regulations, increasing opportunities for local food processing, supporting local food shelves, co-op/CSA development, farm-to-school programs, and much more.

Waddle shared that the first meeting had a great turnout, and the organization will set another meeting date in the near future. She said the meetings are open to anybody “interested in promoting a sustainable local food system that’s equitable for everyone to access here in Cook County.”

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff spoke with Waddle about the Grand Marais Farmers Market and other Community Center updates. Audio below.