Note to our readers: This column is part of a series from a blog recently started by a loosely knit independent group of area business people and residents who love and want to promote the energy and enthusiasm of downtown St. Joseph: The Joe Town Vibe. To find the column online or to read web-exclusive blogs posted every Tuesday please visit joetownvibe.com.
by John Stevens
Intern SJU ’18
Think about your favorite event in St. Joseph. For many, the annual Millstream Arts Festival is the most anticipated event of the year. Wouldn’t it be great if we could replicate the energy that pulses through downtown during the art festival on a more regular basis? There is a tremendous opportunity to bring this energy downtown every Friday afternoon throughout the summer. For years the St. Joseph Farmers’ Market has taken place in the parking lot of Resurrection Lutheran Church. Although the church has served as a great home for the market, moving it downtown would bring the sustainability of the event to the emotional center of the city.
A farmers’ market is a picture-perfect example of sustainability on every front. Economically, a farmers’ market keeps money within the community. Socially, farmers’ markets provide face-to-face interaction which builds community. Environmentally, farmers’ markets provide a place for locals to buy local products grown in much more environmentally friendly fashion. Wouldn’t it be great to bring the sustainability and energy of this event downtown?
Currently, Friday afternoons during the summer in St. Joseph are relatively quiet, and the downtown area is generally empty. Bringing the farmers’ market downtown would get people downtown interacting with each other. Additionally, having the farmers’ market downtown would be a more accessible location for all the residents of St. Joseph. The relatively central geographical location of the downtown would make it easier for people to get to the event by means other than driving. Shouldn’t an event that is a cornerstone of sustainability be able to be accessed in a more sustainable way, like by foot or bike?
Bringing the farmers’ market to Minnesota Street would also help promote the downtown. A farmers’ market is a positive experience that reflects well on the people visiting and encourages them to visit the area again. Having the farmers’ market in the parking lot of a church does not have a positive impact on the area, as there are no businesses in the area to reap the benefit. This redeeming characteristic of a farmers’ market is currently being wasted in St. Joseph.
The vibe of St. Joseph is most prevalent when people come together and interact. Location-wise, the vibe of St. Joseph pulses strongest through the downtown area. Bringing the farmers’ market to downtown can add to the energy of the area on a regular basis and can help promote a more sustainable future for the area.