Waterloo Urban Farmers Market Adapts to Serve Community
May 28, 2021
A farmer’s market is about more than fruits and vegetables. DaQuan Campbell tells about a community within the larger community when he talks about the Waterloo Urban Farmers Market. DaQuan has been the market manager for four years and has helped develop the market, which runs every Saturday, May through October. While the main goal is to provide access to fresh produce and healthy food options to the Waterloo community, it’s also about being an incubator for a diverse group of small businesses and entrepreneurs, a spot for networking and learning, and a place for friends and families.
Being located at the Riverloop Expo Plaza in downtown Waterloo is an important part of the Urban Farmers Market mission. “There’s a lot to be made about food deserts, and a lot of populations, underserved populations, not having readily available access to fresh produce. We are in a convenient central location for many neighborhoods to come and shop for fresh produce.” So, when COVID-19 changed everything, DaQuan and the board of directors knew they had to adapt to stay open with safety in mind. The pandemic thrust a curbside pickup model that had been in the works into existence, which helped increase fruit and vegetable purchases.
Unfortunately, vendors and sponsorships were down, meaning fewer dollars to keep the market operations thriving. A grant from CFNEIA’s Black Hawk County fall grants helped fill this gap. “It really came at a good time to keep us afloat heading into the 2021 season,” said DaQuan. The grant helped keep planning efforts moving to make the market community and Waterloo, even more vibrant.
This story is part of our 2020 Impact Report.