The South Market

Grand Rapids' South Retail Farmers Market was started in 1918 at the request of neighbors through petitions, letters by women's clubs, and other civic engagement. It was the second retail farmers market started in Grand Rapids after the Leonard Street Market opened as an experimental market in the northwestern part of the city. The Leonard Street Market was wildly successful and women's clubs and other civically engagemed residents pushed for other retail, so-called sections markets, in neighborhoods.

This market was first started as a curb market near Campau Park. After neighbors complained it moved to the Truant School Grounds at the southwest corner of Ionia and Franklin. In 1924, after complaints by neighbors, it was moved further south on the east side of Division Avenue between Crofton and Cottage Grove. It lasted until the early 1970s when its existence faded out of the archives following the neighborhood uprisings of the late 1960s. This collection includes the original petition written to the City Commission to move the market in 1921. The petitions were transcribed and each person is included with available information and mapped in relation to the marketplace. This data will be added to a food environment map of the South Division section of Grand Rapids and this is a prototype for future exploration. One oral history of the market will be included also.

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Jayson Otto