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New Rockwood farmers market offered fresh produce, opportunities; eyes continued growth

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The final day for the Peoples Market at Rockwood was held Thursday, Oct. 28. A Rockwood farmers market that has been bringing together a diverse mix of community members celebrated the end of its inaugural season last week with music and festivities.

The People's Market at Rockwood, hosted by nonprofit youth organization Play Grow Learn, was a Black-led farmers market that ran for 20 weeks out of the Sunrise Center parking lot, 18901 E. Burnside St. Thursday afternoon, Oct. 28, the vendors set up shop one last time before going on break during the cold months. There was a raffle, giveaways, and live music from Julian Outlaw.

"We've never had a Black farmer's market like this in East County," said Anthony Bradley, founder and executive director of Play Grow Learn. "This market helped support entrepreneurship, healthy eating, and brought the whole community together."

In total more than 50 vendors participated in the weekly market, representing the diverse cultures within Rockwood. The vendors offered fresh produce, hot meals, community services, crafts, and more. The market also operated as a COVID-19 vaccination site with support from Multnomah County. One day had a record 79 people getting the jab.

"From the beginning our intent was to have this be a place for the people to come together and get what they need," Bradley said.

The People's Market will be returning next summer, though the location is still in flux as organizers work with various stakeholders.

Play Grow Learn is a nonprofit youth organization that hosts camps for homeless and foster kids, facilitates park stewardship at Nadaka Nature Park, distributes food boxes, and has been running the farmers market.

Learn more on Facebook at Play Grow Learn.

Holiday food boxes

Play Grow Learn is looking for donations to help feed more than a hundred families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The holiday food boxes will be sent out to 125 families next month, and will be filled with produce left over from the People's Market. The boxes will also include hygiene products, care items, masks, gloves, hats, and more.

The boxes will be delivered on Nov. 23, and another wave will go out near Christmas.

Financial donations to fill the boxes can be made by mailing checks to Play Grow Learn, 465 N.E. 181st Ave., P.O. Box 166, Portland 97230.

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