For the third summer in a row, the parking lot at 1414 E. Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis is the location of the Four Sisters Farmers Market, most definitely a place you will want to be. Each week, on Friday afternoons, live music, food demonstrations, and the wares of approximately eight vendors can be found and enjoyed. The visionaries behind this market are the staff of NACDI (Native American Community Development Institute), and their focus is to become a local leader in the national and international movement to promote indigenous people’s approach to good health.
Under canopies, tables are filled with freshly grown produce, hand-harvested wild rice, handmade crafts, delicious preserves, jellies and maple syrup. Everyone is welcome. The market begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Roughly 100 consumers, and that number is growing, attend the market each week to buy their goods. They have increased the sales of surrounding businesses. Bob Rice, owner of Pow-Wow Grounds Coffee, said his sales on Friday afternoons have more than doubled during the market.
One of the most exciting opportunities at this market is to be able to use the EBT card and receive up to $10 worth of Market Bucks that can be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food at any of the many participating market locations across this state. You can literally walk up to a market vendor and purchase $10 worth of freshly locally grown organic greens, walk away from that purchase with $10 worth of market tokens, and purchase $10 worth of wild rice or jams and jellies at the next vendor, thereby doubling your buying power and making your own personal commitment toward improving your health.
What you can buy with SNAP at the farmers market are fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and dairy, honey and maple products, jams, jellies, pickles and sauces, baked goods, seeds and plants that produce food. Vendors such as Dream of Wild Health grow traditional crops and teach a tradition of native agriculture to reclaim health. Dream of Wild Health has a 10-acre farm north of St. Paul to produce nutritional food to raise healthy children. According to Michele, another vendor, who is one of the creators and sustainers of the Mashkiikii Gitigan (Ojibwe for medicine garden) located across the street from the Waite House a few blocks away from the Four Sisters Farmers Market, “Even lead can be chelated from the human body by the consumption of select fruits and vegetables that scientists have proven remove that deadly toxin.”
There is still room for more vendors says Taylor Peyer, the director of Arts and Cultural Engagement for NACDI. You can contact Jenn Hall, NACDI’s community organizer for this program. Her number is 612-235-4971.