Candice Turner, a Ball state alumna and a resident of Muncie, sells logs with shiitake mushrooms growing out of them at the Makers Market. DN PHOTO PATRICK CALVERT
New 'Makers Market' to bring fresh produce, art downtown
For the first time, Muncie residents can go to the Muncie Makers Market, a new event hosted on Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Old West End in downtown Muncie.
The market is similar to a farmer's market, but it also includes handmade arts and crafts in addition to fresh food, locally grown produce, plants, flowers and baked goods.
Moth Danner is the "Market Master" and creator of the event. She said she got the idea after vending for the Hartford City Growers and Makers Market with her mother.
The Makers Market is open every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. from June to October in the parking lot of the Friends Memorial Church in the Old West End neighborhood.
“We go every Saturday morning to sell our breads and sweets there,” Danner said. “We really enjoy the atmosphere. We enjoy it so much that I copied my experience there and have created the Muncie Makers Market.”
Danner plans to host the market from June through October and to make this an annual event.
She said she wants to focus on improving areas known as "food deserts," a term meaning a community that is mostly without fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful whole foods, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
This may be due to a lack of grocery stores, farmer's markets and healthy food providers, which is why Danner chose downtown as her location.
"There is no grocery store anywhere near here," Danner said. "People need a place to get food, especially fresh food. Many people don’t have cars, so it’s hard to go grocery shopping. So we are hoping to create something [where you can] buy your produce every week."
As the Market Master, Danner is in charge of finding vendors. However, she knows a lot of artists and makers because she’s also the director of the Muncie YART, a local "yard sale for art." Because of this, she said there hasn’t been any trouble finding people to sell.
“I do work with people’s schedules — if any vendor has to miss a date, I have backups,” Danner said. “I’ve got more vendors asking to sell than I will have room for.”
The event first started on June 11, and so far the market is growing from week to week. As more harvests come in, Danner said she expects more produce vendors to participate.
She hopes more young people come to the market in the future, though she has had many come already.
“They have fun knowing the city has so much cool stuff to offer,” Danner said. “I think students would love the market; [there’s] lots going on.”
Dona Monfroy-Davis, a Muncie resident, was selling sculptures of dragons, griffons and other creatures made out of plastic clay at the market June 25.
The Muncie sculptor said the community has really enjoyed her work but it’s hard to get a sale.
“Generally most people will be like, ‘Oh, that’s really cute’ and then walk away, and I was kind of expecting that," she said. "People tend to see the stuff I make as being more expensive, but they don’t exactly know the process and materials that go into it.”
Even though Monfroy-Davis has had trouble selling her creations, she said she still enjoys getting feedback from Muncie residents.
“People really like my stuff, and just getting that positive feedback makes me want to come back every time," she said. "I know just being here at this event will help it grow and help more people see that it’s a viable place to sell food, plants and art.”
She said she also likes being part of the market because it encourages people to shop locally.
“Basically the more you shop locally, more money stays in the community and goes toward helping the community grow and generally enriching the area around you,” she said. “So, basically, by shopping locally you are helping support your community without having to do a whole lot. It’s just a simple way to show that you care about your community.”
Candice Turner, a Ball state alumna and a resident of Muncie, was selling logs with shiitake mushrooms growing out of them.
“I think people are attracted to it just because it’s different," she said. "They have never seen anything like this and they wonder, ‘What is this log?’”
She said about half the people who came by her booth purchased a log. Turner also plans to sell fresh produce in three weeks to a month.
Leon Crosby, a resident from Muncie and an art teacher at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, sold art at the Makers Marker and said he thought the event was good for the community.
“We wanted to get out in the community and show everybody that there are still people who still want to make Muncie beautiful again,” he said.
Crosby said he thought the market was well-received by local residents.
“People are coming out checking it out; it’s inspiring people to come be part of the arts and talk to the artists," Crosby said. "It’s cool to see a neighborhood of people come and check your stuff out.”