Muldoon Farmers Market highlights need for community space

People chat during the first Muldoon Farmers Market at Begich Middle School. Hillman/KSKA
People chat during the first Muldoon Farmers Market at Begich Middle School. Hillman/KSKA

Muldoon’s first farmers market launched this weekend to a buzzing crowd. But the effort is about more than just connecting people to fresh food; it’s about building community.

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Two hours after the market opened on Saturday morning, the tables of fresh vegetables had been reduced to a pile of zucchini from a Wasilla farm and a few bags of lettuce from the community garden.

Nineteen-year-old Graham Dinkle from Wasilla has been selling at markets his entire life, and he says this was very atypical. “Usually it’s pretty slow. Like every once in a while a customer will come by, but I’ve been swamped.”

The dozens who came through the Begich Middle School parking lot walked away with art, coffee, free books and painted faces as well.

Area resident Diana Campbell says when she first heard about the market, her reaction was “Finally!”

“It brings people together,” she says. “And it showcases what we have here and what we can have more of. It’s a bright spot, and we’re trying to make more bright spots on this side of town.”

Market volunteer Kaylen Saxton says it also demonstrates that the community needs a gathering space. It took months for the volunteer-run committee to find a location for the now weekly event.

“In this community there are very few places that you can meet. The schools are used for the meetings when you have thirty or more people you want to get together. And we really want another space, outside space and inside space, eventually.”

Saxton says she’s hoping the market will eventually find a home in a new park near Debarr and Muldoon. The Anchorage Assembly will consider officially designating the land as a park later this year. But for now, the market will stay at the middle school, every Saturday through the end of September.