People’s Market

July 30, 2007

Emily Trujillo

Never say "Never on Sunday."
by Emily Trujillo
Attending the People's Market at Jordan Park feels more like joining a Sunday morning gathering of friends than attending a market. Small groups of people sit among the trees and vendor booths at Jordan Park, also home to the International Peace Gardens, enjoying snow cones, fresh-picked fruit from local farmers and gardeners or delightful, prepared food from one of the market vendors.

Held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Oct. 20, the People's Market exudes a mellow, inviting atmosphere. The booths are arranged in a circle with an area set up in the center of the market for scheduled musicians to perform. As I approached the park, I heard the soulful LeRoy Lee belting out some funky blues while playing his guitar. A few people had begun dancing. I assumed Lee was the scheduled musical act for the day; however, I later learned that the musician who was scheduled to perform had not yet arrived so Lee grabbed his guitar from the car and spontaneously became the Market's entertainment. Kyle LaMalfa, one of the market's organizers, says "things just kind of come together here."

 As I strolled among the booths, I saw the fresh fruit and vegetables, jewelry, plants and art one would expect. Yet there is a sense of uniqueness and community about the People's Market which sets it apart form the typical farmer's market, from the handmade vendor signs to the jar I saw at one booth which read "pay what you can, take what you need." Originally conceived within a local community leadership program, the People's Market is a true grassroots effort to improve our local quality of life. The Market's mission to help build a more robust food system, small-scale entrepreneurship and community pride, is evident throughout.

The vendors at the People's Market consist of avid gardeners, farmers, local artisans and nurseries who pay $10 to $15 a week to participate. Among the vendors I spoke with, Ron Jensen who has a small farm in North Ogden traveled the farthest with his delightful assortment of fresh picked plums, apricots and apples. I met a young man named Dave Baldwin who was a first time participant at the market. With him, he brought an abundant assortment of fresh, beautiful vegetables which he had grown on his grandmother's small farm in Sandy. He told me that he had been tending to the garden for his grandmother since his grandfather had passed away LAST MONTH? 2 YEARS AGO?. Also participating in the market was Paul Ames, who grows and sells local, waterwise plants and only agreed to give me his name after I assured him I was not with the CIA. The participants of the People's Market are proud of what they have produced and happy to share these goods with other members of the community.

The goal of the People's Market is to provide an opportunity for residents, local growers, artisans, small businesses and citywide consumers to come together for good food and great bargains on locally produced items. It also provides an alternative for those seeking farmer's market goods who may not be able to attend Saturday's market, not to mention offering the residents of Salt Lake something to do on Sunday.