We know you all have been wondering about the progress of East End Market, so here is our monthly update! Thank you for your patience and encouragement as we develop East End Market. Because there has never been a project exactly like this before, there are surprises all along the way, and as Owner John Rife would say, “If it was easy, it would have been done before.”
Not only is East End a learning experience for us, but we also hope that it will offer many educational experiences for you once we open. Our edible landscaping and market garden will be just one of the opportunities to explore and learn at East End. It will awaken you to the possibilities of growing food, says Henry Melendy, Founder of My Yard Farm and landscape designer of East End Market. And John Rife can’t wait to have a market garden, which “will be the billboard for what’s in season.” So, take a peak at what we have accomplished over the past couple of months and leave your comments below.
Last week I had the good fortune of attending the 8th International Public Markets Conference. It was my first time attending this biennial conference, and my first time visiting the city of Cleveland. Both were inspirational, and I am back with even bigger dreams for the future of East End Market and our local food community. I feel like I could write a thousand posts about the experience, but I’ll try to limit this to the highlights.
Eagerly checking in and flipping through conference materials!
The conference was produced by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. For PPS, public markets play a vital role in placemaking, and it’s our hope that East End Market can play that role right here in this community.
At the first day of sessions, I heard from the talented folks behind many of the grand market halls of America, like the Eastern Market in Detroit, Pike Place Market in Seattle, and Cleveland’s own West Side Market. I also heard from managers of weekly farmers markets throughout the country and around the world, including the hugely successful Santa Monica Farmers Market. We explored the benefits, challenges, opportunities and ambitions that public markets can create for communities. Public markets are more than just places that “do food.” They create a space for diverse people to interact with food and each other. They can be centers for learning, and for connecting the dots of a vibrant food community. There is so much a public market can be to a community.
The conference in action
This event was the kind of gathering that gets your mental wheels turning about how the lessons you’re learning can apply to and inspire your own projects at home. Here at East End Headquarters (our humble conference room that we use as an office), we have always envisioned East End as a multipurpose hub of activity. We want to give new and expanding food businesses a fresh opportunity to grow in an exciting and supportive environment. We want to create a space for events – foodie and otherwise – to engage our neighbors and new friends. We want to bring farming to the city with our market garden fronting Corrine Drive. We want to create a venue for local arts and culture to connect with the food community. In sum, it is our intent to build East End Market into a catalyst for placemaking.
Cleveland's West Side Market is a cornerstone in a thriving community. Can we do the same?
There are a lot of ways that we are looking to accomplish that. A lot of it will come from the sheer energy of bringing so many food leaders and entrepreneurs into one place. Much of it will come from new neighbors coming into the market and interacting with one another. We hope some will come from making the market accessible to walkers, cyclist, bus riders, and drivers alike. We will partner with local organizations and businesses to connect those local food dots. We hope that you’ll join us in creating diverse and engaging programming that will continue to grow and better connect this community.
In the lively Audubon Park Garden District, an abandoned 14,000 square foot two-story is an unharmonious site compared to the eclectic and funky shops along Corrine Drive. The building was constructed in 1962 as a church and stood as a sturdy place of worship until 2007. With the downturned economy, the building has stood vacant for the past five years, creating an odd void in the otherwise active community.
East End Market hopes to transform this space into a gathering place with a unique environment to nurture the neighborhood’s distinct culture. Other redevelopment projects have been known to revitalize communities, like a repurposed Wal-Mart turned into a Texas public library. As East End adapts the building into a bustling community food hub, the area’s economic, social and environmental health are at the core of the developers’ motivation.
The adaptive reuse project is not only economically viable, but environmentally as well. East End will extend the lifecycle of the structure, meanwhile minimizing Orlando’s sprawl, preserving virgin materials used in new construction, and conserving energy in general. As updates are made to bring the existing building up to code, energy efficiency is ensured by reinsulating the ceilings and replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows. Sustainability is also incorporated by ethically and regionally sourcing building materials. As for the waste materials, like those from an old house on the back of the property, they are sorted and recycled appropriately.
An Urban Garden will take the space of a 1,300 square foot lawn off of Corrine drive. Edible plants and Florida-friendly varietals will be used for additional landscaping, rather than the irrigation-needy, non-edible alternatives. The market will also bring the outdoors in with creative planters made from reclaimed wood. Future phases will allow East End to incorporate other green designs like solar panels, a cistern for harvesting rainwater, and perhaps even a green roof.
The producer-focused market hall, incubator kitchen, farm-fresh restaurant, office/retail areas, and event space are slated to open February 2013. Aiming to support the food entrepreneurs and local business of Central Florida, East End also sourced their contractors and construction company locally, using Barefoot Brothers Construction and Schmidt Design and Architectural Resource Group (of Altamonte Springs). Just as Seattle, New York City and D.C.’s public markets have drawn national attention with their redevelopments, East End aspires to provide a comparable experience for visitors and residents of Audubon Park.