Abandoned auto lot paves way for Brentwood farmers market -- Gazette.Net


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Later this spring, an abandoned auto lot in Brentwood will be filled with sunflowers, public art pieces and community workshops, and by November, it will all be gone.

On June 6, the Route 1 Farmers’ Market and Bazaar will open at 4100 Rhode Island Ave. in Brentwood as a “pop-up,” or temporary community space. The Prince George’s County-owned lot is scheduled for development starting late 2014, so the market and bazaar will make use of the field while it is available.

North Brentwood-based nonprofit Gateway Community Development Corp. is leading the $20,000 project using funding from an Art Place America grant dispersed through Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier.

“This is really about inclusivity and bringing people together from all walks of life,” said Carole Bernard, executive director of Gateway CDC. “We hope to capitalize on the culture here and embrace that through food, through activities, producing things in multiple languages.”

The Route 1 Farmers’ Market and Bazaar will feature booths for 25 farmers, local crafters, a garden with about 100 sunflowers, public art pieces created by local artists, and potentially live music and food trucks, Bernard said. The market will be open weekends from June through November, with Saturdays focusing on family friendly workshops and activities.

Interdisciplinary artist Patrick McDonough of Washington, D.C., said he plans to grow hops in the market lot and offer workshops on beer brewing.

“It’s a project that is looking at what we’re calling nano-brewing, so really small scale and local, and hopefully as sustainable as possible,” he said. “We are really using it as sort of a laboratory space.”

McDonough said the Route 1 corridor is home to many established artists and presentation spaces, and that the Farmers’ Market and Bazaar is one way for them to collaborate together.

“I think [the area] is rife with potential,” he said.

Brentwood Councilwoman Jennifer Murphy said a farmers’ market will be a welcome addition to the community.

“There’s been a big push for farmers’ markets in the area,” she said. “That lot is a super spot for it. It’s a nice sized lot, there’s turnoff near there. It makes it easy to access.”

While several nearby municipalities, including College Park, hold farmers’ markets, Murphy said the proximity and accessibility of the Brentwood market will keep demand high.

“The advantage of having something in your own backyard is that there are a number of people that don’t go that far to College Park or to Hyattsville,” she said. “It’s nice to just go up the street to get something, [and] different places have different types of produce that they offer.”

Bernard said her organization will consider extending some version of the market and bazaar after the auto lot becomes unavailable.

“As a nonprofit community-based organization, our job is to see how we can feasibly respond to community needs and desires,” she said. “If the community says, ‘This worked, this felt good, I met my neighbor,’ and we have a spot to do it on, we certainly would consider [extending the project].”

eeastman@gazette.net