While many local citizens and their families enjoyed weekly visits to the Norcross Community Market this summer, they may not be aware of the history behind it. Significant effort and investments have been made by many volunteers, partners and sponsors to create and maintain this successful community farmers market, one of many Sustainable Norcross initiatives.

During a recent interview, Norcross City Councilman, Josh Bare and Connie Weathers, Founder of Sustainable Norcross told me about the commission’s progress and what they need moving forward, to maintain the successful community farmers market.

Sustainable Norcross has many accomplishments to celebrate, including their Green Community Certifications from the Atlanta Regional Commission, the opening of a Norcross community garden, Discovery Garden Park, and the successful launch of the Norcross Community Market. Connie described the strength of the program and commented that the success of the Norcross Community Market would not have been possible without the tremendous support they received from sponsors, partners and volunteers.


Norcross has been certifed as a Gold Level Green Community since 2011 http://www.atlantaregional.com/environment/green-communitiesNorcross Green Community Certification

The Sustainable Norcross Commission is a volunteer citizen advisory panel to the mayor and city council. These volunteers led the city’s drive to become certified as a Green Community in 2010 by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Since 2011 Norcross has been certified at the Gold level and this year (2016), they submitted an application for Platinum certification, which is the new top level.

The ARC Green Communities program challenges local governments and their citizens to live sustainably. In keeping with United Nations guidance and reports(1), the Green Communities program helps communities meet the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

One of the many Green Community initiatives calls for the city government to “support and designate space for farmers markets”(2). After the Whistle Stop Farmers Market closed, Sustainable Norcross conducted a citizen survey to explore interest in a new local farmers market. The response was very positive. Citizens were enthusiastic, eager to share their ideas and provided great feedback about the things they would like to see in a new Norcross farmers market. The survey results showed that although the citizens wanted the market to focus on food, they were also interested in creating a community experience. They wanted the new market to engage the community with with live music, family activities, entertainment, and fun learning opportunities. The Farmers Market subcommittee of Sustainable Norcross listened and responded to the community.

Norcross Music and Family Fun at the Norcross Community Farmers Market

The New 2016 Norcross Community Market included:

  • 10 Summer Saturday Markets
  • Emphasis on Food With an Average of 17 Vendors Each Week
  • 400 Attendees Per Market Day Average
  • Wholesome Wave Georgia Doubled Dollars and Provided Transportation
    • For EBT (Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) Shoppers
    • For Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Participants

SNAP Matching Dollars http://www.wholesomewavegeorgia.org/Over $3,000 of local healthy foods were made available from the market through the doubling of EBT / SNAP benefits and vouchers for low income Seniors through partnerships with Wholesome Wave Georgia, Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Georgia Farmers Market Association. Transportation was provided for eligible shoppers through the Good Food Bus Grant.

  • ServSafe Training
    ServSafe is a nationally recognized program that certifies food preparers. The Norcross Community Farmers Market assisted in bringing the ServSafe program to approximately 20 Latina women entrepreneurs who served at Norcross markets.
  • CSA Delivery
    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community. CSAs are like a farm share – the farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public for a quarterly or monthly fee. The Norcross Community Farmers Market connected shoppers with the The Turnip Truck. These CSA customers were able to participate in the community event, pick up their pre-orders, and continue shopping at the market.
  • Chef’s Demonstrations
  • Activities for Children
  • Live Music
  • Additional Post-Season Markets
    • Norcross Gateway International Food & Music Festival
    • Norcross Senior Citizens Center

2016 Norcross Community Market

Support the 2017 Norcross Community Farmers Market

The first year was a great success. The market organizers received tremendous feedback. Community enthusiasm has fueled their energy and great ideas for improvements have been shared to make this market even better. In 2017, organizers plan to extend the summer market season and explore ways to help the Norcross Community access healthy food year round, while supporting local food producers. To make these ideas become a reality, the Norcross Community Market will need ongoing support including:


The Norcross Community Market has been fortunate to earn some first year grants, collaborate with partners and secure sponsors who have provided funds and in kind support through services. The community has requested more market days. Additional funding is needed for the market to continue the current level of programming and to respond to the needs and interests of the community. Ongoing financial investment is needed to pay a market manager to coordinate vendors and submit required reports, to purchase tents and equipment, to pay for community outreach, to set up programs, and to apply for and fulfill grants.


Join this vibrant group and have fun while you help expand the market success in 2017. Don’t wait until next summer, you can begin helping now. Between seasons there are ways to contribute by assisting with fundraising, serving on the advisory board, writing grants, conducting community outreach, and writing blogs like this. Next season the committee plans to host 13 weekly markets up from 10 this year. When the markets begin again in June, volunteers will be needed every Saturday through August to assist with customer service, setup, pack up, promotion, social media and more.

Community Support

More buyers are needed to keep the market viable and support vendors. This will ensure the return of desirable vendors and attract new ones. When more food producers participate, the community will enjoy access to even greater varieties and quantities of fresh, healthy and locally grown food. Market interest and participation has been strong, however financial, volunteer and buyer support are essential to keep this momentum going.

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Thank You to the 2016 Norcross Community Market Partners & Sponsors

(1) United Nations “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future”
(2) The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Green Communities Manual