Ivanhoe Farmers’ Market

Neil Rudisill

Health Initiatives Manager, Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council

How long has the market been operating?
It has been operating in some iteration since 2008

How long have you worked with this market?
The market was created by Dina Newman and I took over her position as the Health Initiatives Manager for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council in June 2016. The Ivanhoe Farmers Market is one of several health intervention strategies that we have developed over the years. 

How would you describe this market compared to others? Why was this market started? What makes this market unique?
The Ivanhoe Farmers Market is unique compared to others as it was designed as a community initiative that took on the challenge of providing fresh foods and healthy choices into a community that at the time didn’t have a grocery store.

Dina Newman and the Ivanhoe Community wanted to take control of their food system and decided to provide spaces to grow food, technical assistance on how to grow food and a marketplace to provide that food to others who didn’t grow their own food. Its original design was not only to create a space where this could happen but also provide a “positive alternative” for residents, neighbors and supporters to enjoy on a Friday evening. This space encouraged conversations about personal and neighborhood health which was curated by the Ivanhoe Farmers Market.

During its beginnings, the biggest value of the market was its social space and over the years it has developed into a thriving marketplace where growers, farmers, and neighborhood entrepreneurs are able to not only supply fresh, organic vegetables to the community but substantial revenue is generated as well. The market is a viable place for vendors to make a return on their investments while supplying the community with the social space to gather and get to know each other.

Programming has always been a crucial part of the market which is unique. We have had and always will have programming for children and families which encourages reading, activity and creativity. The Ivanhoe Farmers Market is unique as compared to other markets in the Kansas City region as it is community-based though regionally supported, and offers a space for startups to develop food business concepts with little investment in time and money while also supplying a corridor with sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. 

How many people attend this market?
We serve on average 150 customers and supporters. When I took over the position in 2016 the market saw on average 25 customers and had only a hand full of vendors. Through marketing, scaling, improving and incentives we have advanced our numbers both in terms of customers, vendors and revenue generation.

How many farmers vend at this market?
We have a list of 20-25 different vendors, however, we usually only have 15 or so at each market. Depending on the product that the vendor sells, time of year, and other situations dictates who is at the market each week.

Why should people shop at farmers markets?
The Ivanhoe Farmers Market is unique in that it began as a community initiative directed by community members and the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council to begin a conversation about health and how that impacts the community and the residents that live in the neighborhood.

When you spend you dollars at the IvanhoeFarmers Market you are not only supporting farmers and neighborhood entrepreneurs you are supporting an initiative. Your money travels further as you receive a product and help a social good all at the point of sale. The market was originally designed to be a “positive alternative” where friends, neighbors, supporters, and customers were able to have conversations about the reality that they live in and discuss opportunities to change it, all while supporting local sustainable agriculture and neighborhood entrepreneurship. Not only is your money being stretched to support farmers and our initiative, but you are also supporting a market that helps growers and producers “get ready to be ready”. What is meant by that is, we offer wrap-around services to our vendors in order to see them succeed and help adapt where needed.

Vendors don’t just come set up, sell and tear down.

A lot of them have gone through training with us, acquired skills, land and tools with us, learned business concepts with us and we all share the fruits of our labor collectively. Our market is an easy market to be a vendor at, we supply the set up and tear down for our vendors and have a staff that makes sure our incentive programs are working as well as implement educational and family programming at the market. For example we introduced to programs in 2019 i) Read and Munch, ii) MAT-PRO (Market assistant training program). The read and munch offers free “munch money” to kids who read 5 books about food, nutrition, environmentalism or farming either at the public library or at the market. This incentivizes not only reading, but also puts money in the pockets of our vendors as the “munch money” is only valid at the Ivanhoe Farmers Market. The MAT-Pro program is a workforce training program that teaches teenagers how to work in retail. We partner with a company such as Artisan Kombucha and our MAT Pro personnel learns about the product, learns how to sell the product, learns about making change and actually sets up and sells the product at the market earning an hourly wage for their efforts. 

In short, the Ivanhoe Farmers Market is more than just a market its a place for community, farmers, neighborhood entrepreneurs, learning and preparing folks to be successful in whatever endeavor they are interested in.    

Why should farmers sell at farmers markets?

Farmers should vend at our market due to its easy accessibility for the vendor. We supply tents, tables and infrastructure. We fund the staff as well as the programming and entertainment. The vendor just has to show up set their items up sell and leave. It is a great return on investment of time as we are only open for three hours during Saturday morning and we do the work on the front and back end to allow success for all our vendors.

Ivanhoe Farmers Market


June through September: 9 a.m. to noon