9:00 a.m. April 25 – Temple Hills, MD: This Saturday, Branch Avenue In Bloom (BAIB), a program of the Maryland Small Business Development Center, will celebrate its fifth season with a Grand Opening. The BAIB Farmers’ Market is located in the Iverson Mall parking lot. This year, Farmers’ Market visitors will have the pleasure of buying fresh and locally grown produce (and eggs) grown from the Accokeek Foundation’s Ecosystem Farm. As a vendor, the Accokeek Foundation will also be able to accept SNAP vouchers. The grand opening will feature an array of events which include line dancing from the Iverson Mall Walkers, live musical performances from local DJ talent, antique car display, free cooking demonstrations, and a debut appearance from Nigel the baby lamb. The market will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with no-cost to attend.
Going into its fifth season, Retail Revitalization Coordinator, Jennifer Funn, has special reason to celebrate the market’s longevity. After struggling in its initial two years, BAIB now finds that it is the longest running Farmers’ Market in South East Prince George’s County. “Over the past few years we have been able to continue to provide the area with fresh produce while providing small businesses a no-cost platform to start up their enterprises.” A great sign of progress for the market has been the upsurge in interests from various vendors this year. One of those vendors includes newly acquired partner, the Accokeek Foundation. Accokeek Foundation President and CEO, Lisa Hayes, has expressed her enthusiasm with this new partnership. “We [Accokeek Foundation] are excited for the opportunity to offer fresh, locally-grown, certified organic produce in Temple Hills and surrounding communities while also helping to educate consumers about healthier food options.”
The biggest contributor for the BAIB Farmers’ Market has been the mall managers of Iverson Mall. Since the market’s inception in 2011, Iverson Mall has granted BAIB space in its parking lot as the operating area for the market. They have also been key sponsors, subsidizing the market’s radio ads as well as re-usable shopping bags that market customers receive upon buying produce. As mall management makes head way to re-brand themselves from Iverson Mall to the Shops at Iverson, BAIB will play a role in promoting the new turnaround.
“As the new owners of Iverson Mall, we are very excited to continue our affiliation with the ever-improving BAIB Farmer’s Market, representing just one of many ways in which we plan to make Iverson once again the focal point of the thriving community in and around Temple Hills.”
About Branch Avenue In Bloom:
Branch Avenue In Bloom is a program of the Maryland Small Business Development Center and funded by Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission. The program’s mission is a transit oriented development for the surrounding areas near the Naylor Road Metro Station (Branch Avenue and St. Barnabas Road). This has entailed providing services for the local businesses (i.e. business counseling, access to capital, alternative green energy plans) as well as community focused projects, such as the Farmers’ Market and the developing an Urban Farm.
About the Accokeek Foundation’s Sustainable Agriculture Program:
For over 20 years, the Accokeek Foundation’s Ecosystem Farm has been a model of sustainable agriculture through research, demonstration, and educational programs. Today, this 8-acre certified organic, solar-powered, non-profit farm operation engages learners of all ages in innovative practices through training workshops, volunteer opportunities, and educational tours. As a by-product, the produce is offered to the Prince George’s community through on- and off-farm markets. The Ecosystem Farm is proud to accept SNAP benefits so that the highly nutritious food grown locally is accessible to all.