In 2003, six vendors gathered in a Coppell parking lot to host the city’s first farmers market. Over 20 years later, individuals can shop for fresh produce from over 60 vendors, learn about local food systems and meet with friends and neighbors.

City volunteer Amanda Vanhoozier started the Coppell Farmers Market in 2003 after she noticed residents asking to purchase produce from the community gardens. Today the farmers market continues to provide a sustainable food source and a gathering place for the community.

“We have a reputation for being one of the best markets in the region,” said farmers market Director Amanda Austin. “We've added two leadership positions and we still have a healthy group of dedicated volunteers–some new, some from the original crew of 20 years ago, and we have about 2000 plus shoppers a week.”

One aspect of the market that has remained the same is its commitment to being a producer-only market, meaning vendors can only sell items they grew or made themselves.

The farmers market also continues to be a gathering place for community members.

“What I love is we see a diverse group of families shopping every week and they're stopping to chat with their friends and their neighbors and meeting up there to hang out,” Austin said. “We have noticed really strong and long-lasting relationships between the vendors and the customers, which is really special.”

Market Manager Rachel Weaver said the farmers market serves as a place for individuals to gain a greater understanding of local food systems.

“Coppell being such a growing area where a lot of young families are living, it's really great to see all the little kiddos that are getting to learn about local food and agriculture in this really great way where they're not even realizing they're learning,” Weaver said.

Austin said the farmers market also helps children learn about farmers and the people who grow their food.

“I love when the kids come and they meet real farmers and makers,” Austin said. “It really busts the stereotype of what a farmer is.”

As the farmers market continues to grow, staff and volunteers are building partnerships with other local organizations to continue to positively impact the community.

The Coppell Farmers Market is partnering with Double Up Food Bucks to host Veggie Day on Saturday, April 27. SNAP and EBT users can double their SNAP dollars up to $30 to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Guests can also enjoy activities such as vegetable seed planting, vegetable-themed crafts and a temporary tattoo station. In addition, the first 100 customers to use their EBT card will receive free popsicles.

“[This event is] about the importance of access to local foods and healthy foods and how you can incorporate that into your everyday life,” Weaver said.

Want to visit the farmers market? The Coppell Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at 768 W. Main St. Coppell.

“It's such a special resource that not a lot of communities have and when possible, I think people should really try to prioritize coming out [to the market],” Austin said.

To learn more about the Coppell Farmers Market, visit its website.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.