Churches, nonprofits and businesses within residentially zoned areas in Dallas are now able to be granted a neighborhood market permit with the city.

Dallas City Council approved an ordinance that expands areas where markets can be held during its May 25 meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Chad West said he was excited to potentially address “food deserts” throughout Dallas, where grocery stores are not easily accessible.

“I see this as an opportunity to really bring food into areas we really never thought about before,” West said.

West said the ordinance update follows action taken by council in 2019 to expand neighborhood markets. He said market fees were lowered, the allowed number of market days a year was expanded to 46, and the maximum number of allowed vendors was increased to 75.

Among public speakers on the subject was Julianna Bradley-Yeefoon, director of food justice with nonprofit For Oak Cliff. Bradley-Yeefoon said her nonprofit, in partnership with Dallas County Health and Human Services, was able to start a market in south Oak Cliff thanks to a roughly $160,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The ordinance change allows farmers and vendors participating in the For Oak Cliff market to pay less in permitting fees, according to Bradley-Yeefoon. In addition, she said the market helps support certain areas of Dallas.

“I have the privilege of being able to get into my car and drive 8 or 9 miles to a grocery store that provides the kind of food that I like to eat and feed my family,” Bradley-Yeefoon said. “But that is not true for a lot of the people in my community.”