If the Downtown Growers’ Market is the best thing ever in your book, then you might just blow a fuse over the Rail Yards Market. Think coffee, pastries, heirloom tomatoes, pop-up art galleries, dance performances, curanderas and artisanal everything, all in the cool-as-hell derelict grandeur of the Barelas rail yards.
For months now, a grassroots coalition of community leaders and artists have been hammering out their vision for a market that showcases the fruits of local arts and culture and breathes new life into the city-owned Blacksmith Shop that has been populated solely by pigeons for decades.
The market runs Sundays from 9am to 3pm, now through Nov. 2. Robert Hoberg, one of the creative minds behind the market, gave me the lowdown:
How is this market different than the Downtown Grower’s Market?
The first thing is the space, that’s for sure. At the Downtown market you can sit in the grass. At the Rail Yards you’re in the middle of history, so it’s two different feelings. To focus specifically on the Rail Yards, we’re trying to embed a lot of education. We’re trying to infuse a cultural element. Medicine is also something we’re trying to incorporate ... some of the old ways of living. So we’ve got Old School there passing out seedlings in egg cartons, SWOP (SouthWest Organizing Project) is going to be there talking about some of their initiatives ... so, yeah, the main difference is culture, education and the history of the grounds.
There’s going to be a community stage that’s open mic, so people can do anything. It’s like a soap box.
How does one go about getting their hands on a rail yard building?
Well, it’s a city building; it’s a venue now. Anybody can use it. The city has renovated it so it can be rented. It’s $60 an hour, but along with the $60 an hour, you have to get your million-dollar insurance policy that costs about $200 a day, your trash taken out ... there’s an electrical connection ... everything is by-the-book because it’s the city. They want the space to be used; they want it to be on the radar, so they’re working with us and have been one of the top donors to our cause.
What else are you excited about?
There’s going to be a community stage that’s open mic, so people can do anything. It’s like a soap box. There’s going to be a t-shirt collective where you bring a t-shirt, choose a graphic from any number of artists, come back to the market the next week and pick up your shirt.
One of the most exciting things for me is the market currency. We have this beautiful, laser-cut wooden token. It’s dollar for dollar. We’re going to distribute them to different community groups to bring back to the market like cash. Once we have 1,000 of these, they will be just floating around and keep floating.
What should I eat for breakfast?
Robert answered with a spread sheet. Vendors include Pop Fizz, Bosque Baking Company, M’Tucci’s Kitchina, Zendo, Kola Tree Bakery, Bella Artisan Bread, Conchita’s Creations, Gauchito Catering and Street Food Institute. He also mentions that while there will be parking, you might want to bike down. A bike valet service will be on site to make you feel V.I.P.
But it’s all V.I.P. at the Rail Yards. That’s what community’s all about.