Celebrate National Farmer's Market Week with C-CAP at the Open Air Market
The following is a guest post, written by Anneliese Way. Community farmers markets play an important role in stimulating the local economy, preserving farmland and rural livelihood, and increasing access to fresh food, but the Phoenix Public Market's Open Air Market’s newest impact on Phoenix is their effort to support a healthy community. One of their most recent community endeavors is their new partnership with the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).
The Phoenix Public Market is proud to support the local community by partnering with C-CAP and students through the Open Air Market’s Taste of the Market program. With the help of 9 Degrees North Catering, a local catering company that lends their kitchen space to the program, students create recipes using seasonal market produce, serve free samples, and perform live cooking demos every Saturday at the market. The Taste of the Market program not only helps create career opportunity for valley students, but it also serves to strengthen the community by connecting local chefs, farmers, and other program partners with the next generation to enter the food and hospitality industry.
Every Saturday from 8am to 12pm- rain or shine, year around- the Phoenix Public Market proudly holds their Open Air Market. Since opening in 2005, the Open Air Market has operated with the vision of being a place “where farmers and local businesses without stores or big contacts [can] bring their products to the people of Arizona. The idea [is] to create a non-profit market that champions Arizona products made by people who [want] to build their own business”. From only hosting 14 vendors and having several customers nearly twelve years ago, the market has grown today to host over 90 vendors that represent the best Arizona has to offer in agriculture, food, craft, food truck, and health & wellness products and serve over 1,500 customers from across the valley. Phoenix Public Market’s Open Air Market has become a staple in the community, creating a downtown community gathering place by supporting small farmers and businesses that strengthen sustainable food systems and produce healthy products for the local community.
C-CAP is a national non-profit organization whose “mission is to promote and provide career opportunities in the foodservice industry for underserved youth through culinary arts education and employment”. Through job training, internships, scholarships, college advising, and more, C-CAP prepares over 17,000 students annually for a successful career in the culinary and hospitality industry to empower disadvantaged students and break the cycle of poverty. Over a quarter of the students involved in C-CAP are served by the fifty schools across Arizona that have joined the program.
Any community member can get involved in this partnership for themselves as well. National Farmer’s Market Week begins August 6th, and anyone is encouraged to come experience the Taste of the Market program by visiting the market and stopping by C-CAP’s booth to view cooking demos and taste the food made from on site vendors including Maya's Farm, Saffron Jak, and others. There is no better way to pass a Saturday morning than visiting the Open Air Market to support local vendors and students while picking up the freshest produce and quality artisan products that Arizona has to offer!