Tell us a little about your Learning Garden. What's growing there now?
Right now, the only thing growing in the learning garden is the number of inches of snow spilling over the top of the raised beds.
Joking aside, the Learning Garden is a tremendous asset to the market. This past summer, a Master Gardener was on site each Saturday to teach children (and even some grownups) about where food comes from and how to care for grown food. You can see a list and description of the items that were grown in 2013 here: http://newbocitymarket.com/about/learning-garden/.
What do you think is the future for local food markets like NewBo?
I think as we look to the future, places like NewBo City Market are going to be opening up shop everywhere. The desire for fresh, locally produced food (both whole foods and prepared) has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. I only see that desire expanding. I don't exactly know what the future holds for markets like ours, but our entire existence is based on the mission of helping the public gain access to quality and fresh foods. With that said, I think we're in store for a very successful future.
Can you tell us about any similar markets in the Midwest for readers who might not be close to Cedar Rapids?
More and more are opening every day. There's a public market in Milwaukee, WI; Columbus, OH; Lincoln, NE; Detroit, MI... the list really goes on and on. I can't stress how important public markets are to local economies and small businesses, so if any of your readers are anywhere close to one, I strongly encourage them to take an afternoon to check it out! (And if any of them are ever in Cedar Rapids, I'd love for them to swing by NewBo City Market and say hello.)