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Englewood, Chatham

South Side Youth-Led Farmers Market Adding Open Mic Night Starting This Week

The market has been run by South Side youths for more than a decade. They're hoping an open mic night will help draw more customers to support Black and Brown vendors selling fresh produce and goods.

The community garden is located at 77th and Halsted.
Flavian Prince/Provided
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AUBURN GRESHAM — A youth-led farmers market in Auburn Gresham will host its first open mic night Wednesday.

The market is organized by youths from Community Youth Development Institute High School and MZUZI, a student-run store in South Austin. They’ve run the market for 13 years at the community garden at 77th and Halsted.

This year, alongside HatedYouth, a youth group, the market will also host an open mic night alongside Black and Brown vendors on Wednesdays.

“This provides a way for people to have a place to vend for free, and they’re hoping that the combination of the music and the art and everything else that we’re doing is going to be able to bring customers to their doorstep,” said Flavian Prince, CEO of Meta24 which oversees MZUZI.

The farmers market runs 9-11 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday each week. The open mic runs from 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays.

The market accepts cash, Cash App, and Venmo payments.

The market sells various greens, peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. MZUZI’s own marinara sauce, developed with Edgewater restaurant Sauce and Bread Kitchen, is also available for purchase at the market.

Credit: Flavian Prince/Provided
A student at the community garden displays a jar of marinara sauce.

The market, which happens year-round, began as an opportunity for students to learn how to run a business and empower their communities.

“It really shows that kids that have support … have the ability to do a little bit more, but the flexibility to participate in real community development is limited because of safety issues,” Prince said.

This year, Prince said they opened the market up in April to young people around the city who were having trouble finding jobs or working from home. The market received funding from the state helped pay around 25 students who work at the garden.

Prince said students are planning to set up markets in different areas of the city, including Downtown, to “recirculate the dollar” back to their communities.

“This is the beginning of productive protest, where they’re going to get good at it at the garden and then go to different places and set up shop,” he said.

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