Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market in 2020
If you build it, they will come.
Dieter Kuhlmann has been extensively involved with the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market for many years. His business, Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse Garden Market, has been a major vendor at the market since the 1970s, and he is currently serving as the market’s board chair.
When Boyle McCauley News gives him a call, Kuhlmann turns off his tractor to tell us, “We’re here for the long haul. I predict a bright future for the market. It will come.” He says the other vendors are also optimistic and excited to see what the future holds. “On the whole,” he says, “we are receiving a lot of positive feedback.”
“Food is a big thing,” Kuhlmann says, adding that interest in local food “is currently a very strong movement.” He says people like to know and trust the people from whom they get their food.
Kuhlmann says The Quarters district, with active support from the City, is slowly becoming a place to visit, as well as a place to live. He notices that not everyone is driving to the market, even though there is ample free parking (1000 free stalls when the market is open on Saturdays and Sundays). Quite a few are walking in from nearby residences.
“The market is one of the most significant places in The Quarters,” Kuhlmann says.
Located at 97 Street and 103 Avenue, the historic market building was originally the GWG factory and later an Army and Navy department store. This site offers architectural beauty and a significant amount of indoor space for vendors to display their produce, meat, fish, prepared food, artistic creations, and other wares. The avenue next to the parking lot offers space for outdoor kiosks as well, when the weather permits. But the year-round indoor venue is a big draw.
Joelle Reiniger is a member of the EDFM board and a resident of The Quarters/Boyle Street. She sees the market as much more than a structure. “It brings together people of all ages, all demographics, from all parts of the city,” she says. “The Farmers Market gives people a reason to linger and stay. When you go there, you are almost guaranteed to see somebody you know.”
Mary Ann Debrinski, the City of Edmonton’s director of urban renewal, welcomes this addition to the Quarters district. “It is a current and future attraction with a determined group of vendors,” she says.
Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.