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New community effort aims to improve food access on the eastside of Pueblo

Pueblo Farmers Market
Posted at 6:34 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 21:17:20-04

PUEBLO, Colo. — The Pueblo Farmers Market wants to improve food access in one neighborhood which has seriously lacked it in the past. This summer, the market will launch a new location in the east side neighborhood.

Marci Cochran is the Market Director of the Pueblo Farmers Market. She also serves as the President of the Eastside Action Support Team. She said the Pueblo Farmers Market is the food access program for the Eastside Action Support Team.

Cochran said the goal of the new farmer’s market is to bring more healthy and fresh foods to the neighborhood.

“For the last couple years, we have been trying to work towards getting a spot where we can bring more food access to the east side,” Cochran said.

She said residents on the east side do not have proper access to health and fresh food.

The farmers market will be located 2300 East 10th Street. Vendors from across Southern Colorado will set up their booths outside of the old Spann Elementary School on the east side of Pueblo. Every Saturday this summer, people will be able to visit the market to buy local fruits, vegetables, and meat from local farmers.

Cochran said this project hits close to home.

“I have only ever lived on the east side of Pueblo in my time in Colorado,” Cochran said.

She said there is a severe lack of food accessibility in her neighborhood.

“There's no grocery store in our community you can go to, you know, if there is a couple, there's a Dollar General, there's a couple different convenience stores, you know, they don't so what I consider food,” Cochran said.

For several years, the east side neighborhood has not had a major grocery store. In 2016, a Safeway on East 8th Street closed down and a big grocery store has not opened since. In 2021, the food pantry Sunny Side Market, run by Care and Share Food Bank, opened on the east side. But Cochran said it is not enough to feed the community.

“There are almost 170,000 people in this county and so many of them are undernourished, you know, and so many of them live on the east side,” Cochran said.

That's why Cochran is working to open a new Pueblo Farmers Market in the neighborhood.

“Just to bring food access to the eastside. This is not a market where people are going to make a lot of money. There are gonna be people, so far I have a greed to keep their prices as low as feasible,” Cochran said.

They will charge farmers $10 a day for a booth and $20 for other vendors.

“We're keeping it as low as possible. This is definitely not an endeavor. Literally, it's about love for the eastside. We want to help rebuild community, pride and... for this to be really an expected community gathering place,” Cochran said.

The goal is to have 15 to 20 vendors selling food. The farmers markets on the east side will open on July 13 and remain open through October 12. Vendors will be selling their items from 4 p.m. to 7:30 pm.
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