Midland Area Farmers Market to Explore Long-Term Solutions, Location
After considering many factors and looking into a long-term strategy for the Midland Area Farmers Market, the Midland Business Alliance (MBA) has determined that the Midland Area Farmers Market will not return to its legacy location next to the river and Tridge.
While the riverside Farmers Market circle has served as a beloved home for the Market for many years, returning the Market to this location in its current size and state presented numerous challenges. Market growth, facilities needs, and necessary electrical and accessibility upgrades to the existing circle structure – which are limited in scope due to its location within a regulatory floodway – all contributed to the decision to seek a more feasible permanent location. As defined by FEMA, a “Regulatory Floodway” means the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height.
“As much as we would love to continue in the wonderful setting by the Tridge, data tells us that the best decision for our community, market customers and vendors is to look at alternatives,” said Tony Stamas, MBA President and CEO. “It is our intention to take this time to locate a long-term option for the Farmers Market.”
A Temporary Home
The current location of Dow Diamond’s East parking lot will continue as the home for the 2023 and 2024 Farmers Market seasons. Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons has hosted the Midland Area Farmers Market in the East Parking lot since May 2020.
“We are happy to lend a hand to the Midland Business Alliance and Midland Area Farmers Market for another two years,” said Chris Mundhenk, President & General Manager of the Great Lakes Loons. “Dow Diamond is known to be a community gathering place and we’re happy to continue our great partnership to provide a temporary home.”
Persevering Through a Pandemic & Flooding
The Midland Area Farmers Market has been operating in the Dow Diamond East parking lot since the Tittabawassee River dam system failures in May 2020.
Midland Area Farmers Market has over 75 vendors for the 2022 season with over 50 in attendance during a height-of-season Saturday Market. During peak produce, Market goer attendance reaches over 5,000. Farmers Market popularity has continued to increase since the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, vendors have seen increases in sales and repeat customers.
Moving to Dow Diamond’s East Parking Lot in 2020 provided the opportunity to meet required COVID-19 distancing protocols for both vendors and customers. The additional space includes more parking as well as vendors to work more easily from their transport vehicles.
“We have been thrilled to be able to accommodate more Market Goers in our space, especially all the ages who utilize wheels for transportation” Market Manager Emily Lyons said. “On any given day there will be wheelchairs, wagons, strollers and motorized mobility assistance coming through the Market.”
Many vendors use the Market as a primary source of income; most are from the Great Lakes Bay Region.
As we work through this process we will continue to reach out to customers, vendors and the broader community for their feedback and ideas,” said Stamas. “We would like to thank everyone who continues to support the Market and make it a success.”