The sign at the entrance of the Black Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. Black August in the Park at the YMCA Center in Raleigh. (Photo courtesy to Dayna Wilkerson)
The Black Farmer’s Market is a space that allows local Black-owned businesses to showcase their products to a broad audience in Raleigh and Durham.
The Black Farmer’s Market is a bimonthly event created by Black August in the Park and its founders, Ja’Nell Henry, Moses Ochola, and Crystal Taylor. According to its website, the mission is to “inspire a self-sufficient community that supports and protects Black farmers and entrepreneurs.”
The organization cites the lack of Black farmers in America due to land laws, discrimination, institutionalized practices of racism, lack of access to grocery stores in neighborhoods in Durham County, and the lack of availability for healthy living in the area for their creation.
When I attended the Black Farmer’s Market Raleigh location on Sunday, various products are on sale there. Some things sold at the Raleigh location are poultry, homemade lemonade, skincare, plants, teas, and produce. In Durham, coffee, lemonade, garlic, produce, and general things needed around the house are on sale.
The environment was vibrant, and the vendors were very welcoming and friendly. Everyone was social distancing and wearing masks.
I attended their Raleigh location a few weeks ago, and there are a few repeat stands, but the new ones outnumbered the repeats, and it was a pleasant welcome.
OMG Lemonade’s stand at the Black Farmer’s Market. OMG Lemonade was a busy stand the whole time it was open. (Photo courtesy to Dayna Wilkerson)
One of the small businesses with an outlet to Raleigh and Durham communities due to the Market is OMG Lemonade, owned by Layla Quick, a senior at Panther Creek High School.
OMG Lemonade is a herbal lemonade company from Raleigh. Quick came up with the idea to make the company after a trip to Dubai with her family at 14.
“We took a little trip to Dubai, and we fell in love with this mint limeade, and we brought it back to America,” Quick said when I spoke with her outside her stand. “We were like, “oh my God, we have to make this.”
Quick’s mom held a competition for who could make the best limeade between her and her sister, and when Quick’s friends from Dubai came to America and tasted the mint lemonade she made, they encouraged her to sell it.
“And it was so good that even my friends from Dubai came back and they were like ‘yo, this is it! This is so good.’”
“My mom said, ‘yeah, Layla, you gotta bottle this up and sell it,’” Quick said. “So, just like that, it kind of shot up into the sky.”
Quick said the Black Farmer’s Market helped her company immensely. “The Black Farmer’s Market has helped my business grow so much,” Quick said. “Due to COVID, all the events were closed, and right after June, they started up the Farmer’s Market, and it gave us a platform,” Quick said.
The different environment of the Black Farmer’s Market especially pleased Layla. “The type of people that came, they really appreciated the herbs because it was part of the Farmers Market,” Quick said. “And I usually garden, so it was a great opportunity to bring our lemonade out here.”
Quick discovered the Black Farmer’s Market through Black August in the Park. “We actually found the Black Farmer’s Market because we used to support Black August in the Park and Black August in the Park started the Farmer’s Market,” Quick said. “This was a cool thing for us to get into.”
Response to the Black Farmer’s Market
Many people who attended the Black Farmer’s Market used Twitter to show their happiness towards the event.
@gabhorton tweeted an experience she had at the Market on Sunday. “Keep thinking about how I ran into one of the older Black women vendors at the farmers’ market yesterday,” she said. “I asked her how she was doing & surviving day to day. And she told me, “I reject that surviving mess, I’m doing more than that, I am thriving,” I really needed to hear that.”
@kiskeyakinshasa tweeted about how much they love the Market. “I love Sundays in North Carolina. I love seeing Black folks at the Farmer’s Market,” they said. “I love the south.”
Lastly, @kyung921 used a gif showing their happiness that the Black Farmer’s Market is running for another 4 weeks.
The Black Farmer’s Market is running from June through November in two different locations. On second Sundays, the Black Farmer’s Market is in Durham on 411 W Chapel Hill Street. On fourth Sundays, the Market is in the Southeast Raleigh YMCA on 1436 Rock Quarry Road, and both events are from 1 pm to 4 pm.