A research project on the downtown des moines farmer's market

Essay by inasunnydazeCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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The group that I was a part learned countless things as part of our research of the farmers market in downtown Des Moines. We did many things to during our project to get information we used in our presentation. We visited the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market on October 25, 2003, the last day that it was open. When we were there we walked around observing the landscape and the people that were within the boundaries. While we were there we also interviews a couple of vendors, asking them various questions about why they where there and what they were selling. We also interviewed people that went to the Farmers Market regularly. We got most of our written information from the main website for the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market, as well as other websites that had information concerning the farmers market. We also used the Iowa farmer's market development manual to gather some of the written information.

We used many resources during our research of the Downtown Des Moines Farmers market that helped us complete our presentation.

We discovered many important things about the Downtown Des Moines Farmers market during our research. We researched the history, location, vendors, interviewed people and also researched other farmers markets to be able to make a presentation on the Downtown Des MoinesFarmer's Market. There were some important parts of the history that we found out where important. "The first market in the history of the United

States was in the English colonies in 1634 under Governor John Winthrop of Boston."(www.madfarmmkt.org./history.asp) That came from Europe; these were like the ones there. On Saturday and Sunday farmers come from all over to go to one of the largest farmer's market in the state of Iowa, which is in downtown Des Moines.

There are also many important things we discovered about the location of the downtown Des Moines farmer's market, other than the fact that it was in downtown Des Moines. There are thirteen sections that take up four blocks on Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines. Also the farmer's market should be easy to find and where people live, work and shop.

Another thing that we researched was the vendors and what their responsibilities were. The vendors come from all over to participate in the farmer's market. There are more than 125 farmer's markets in the state of Iowa. For the downtown Des Moines farmer's market the vendors come from over 66 different counties from in and outside the state of Iowa. Some important points about the vendors were that they were required to behave a specific way, the things that they expected from the market and the different categories of products that are sold by the vendor. The different categories are "Iowa grown" products, "Local grown product" and "broker. If the product is "Iowa grown" then that means that the product was grown in Iowa for profit or as a hobby. If the product is "Local grown product" then that means that the product was grown outside the state of Iowa, but within the vicinity of the market and was grown for profit or as a

hobby. If it is "broker" then that means that was grown outside of the state and outside the surrounding states.

When we visited the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market some of the issues that we discussed before in class affected the way we thought about the farmer's market and it also affected the questions we asked the people that we interviewed. When observed the boundaries of the farmer's market I thought about when we discussed the different things people would do to show boundaries over the ages. The boundaries were not chain-linked or rod-iron that some people use to separate their houses from there surroundings, nor where they just understand like the American Indians used before the Europeans came over, they where mostly wooden horses that separated the farmers market from the surrounding areas. I also believe that learning about the way people use the space they occupied made us take a closer look at that when we were at the farmer's market. The American Indians occupied the land that they lived on differently then the Europeans that occupied the same land. This is similar to the difference in the people that occupy Court Avenue on Saturday and Sunday morning during the farmer's market and the people that occupy the same four blocks of Court Avenue during Friday or Saturday night or any other day of the week. These are a couple of the things that I examined in a different way since we researched similar things in class earlier in the year.

In conclusion I believe that researching the Downtown Des MoinesFarmer's Market in many different ways helped us learn about many different aspects of it. It helped me learn important things about the history, location, vendors, other farmer's

markets, and about the people that work and shop there. I believe that learning about the landscape and how people use it also helped us when we were working on our presentation.