Saturday, May 26, 2012

4MRMarket Report: "Sacrifice & Gratitude" Edition

This Memorial Day weekend, we hope you'll stop by on Sunday to enjoy the offerings at Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market. 

4MRMarket is a community-led, all-volunteer effort. Your support means a lot to the whole 4MRMarket team and to all those who work so hard every day to make Four Mile Run Park, our City's largest park, truly a place for everyone to enjoy. It's taken a lot of effort and we're all proud that so much could be done with so little funds and a whole lot of effort. Our service to our community is how we choose to honor those who've sacrificed so much for us in the past, either by putting themselves in harms way or by simply having the courage to persevere. We are very grateful to them and to our many neighbors (including those who have served in almost every recent conflict) who continue to help us pull 4MRMarket and other projects together. We are humbled by the help.

Although progress happens in fits and starts, and this year we've had to throw so much together in so short a time, we see 4MRMarket and associated park improvements as on-going and ever-improving enterprises. In our short life, 4MRMarket has been able to help attract thousands of dollars of donations and grants to transform vacant lots into great new open space: a vibrant gateway to Four Mile Run Park with the promise of a future restored Four Mile Run stream. We've helped small start-up natural food businesses get on their feet by offering them a level playing field with electronic payments...which we also saw further enhanced by the SNAP Double Dollar bonus program with our partner Inova Health Foundation and their funders like Whole Foods/Whole Planet Foundation. And with those partners, we've seen thousands of dollars worth of locally grown, healthy, fresh, nutritious foods delivered to those needing assistance, including immigrants from every continent. 

Because the Alexandria Commission for the Arts provided funding for a new outdoor stage thanks to a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and a matching gift from an anonymous donor, 4MRMarket hosted the first performance last Sunday at the 4MRStage. It featured a fine group of locals, the Irish Breakfast Band with another performance later by the fantastic banjoist, Bill Mansfield. We're proud to be a part of these improvements and continue to solicit donations for these on-going efforts. We know that with the community's support we can expect to see shade trees start to fill the 4MRExpand plaza and make it a great space for the market, festivals and other events for years to come.

We're proud of how 4MRMarket acts like a business incubator: creating opportunities for start-ups and entrepreneurs to experiment with new and exciting business models. We had the pleasure last year of hosting one such up-and-coming business. We miss the great works of pastry art that Kristin D'Angelo brought to 4MRMarket every Sunday, but we're excited to hear about this news: last week Sweet Hearts Patisserie celebrated their grand opening of a brand new store in Annapolis. We're a little sad that it's not in Alexandria, but wish her all the success she deserves.

In the meantime, we hear from new businesses all the time, looking to start at 4MRMarket and we're proud to provide a place for them to strive to reach their dreams. It's exciting to see. We hope folks continue to check them out and give them a chance. Feedback is invaluable.

4MRMarket is proud to be at the forefront of a movement. And we're proud of partners like Inova for empowering so many with the additional spending power that comes with their sponsorship. And we're proud of our patrons who come out each week to support locally produced, sustainable small food businesses and, moreover, our whole community. Without your support there would be no market in Arlandria bringing folks together. 

We're only just getting started, but 4MRMarket and its partners hope to continue to see growth in establishing a sense of place and the building of an inclusive community. 

Remember, Buy Fresh, Buy Local.

Here is who you'll find at 4MRMarket this week:
  • Bread and Chocolate (Arlandria) - A range of baked goods.
  • C and T Produce (White Oak, VA) - A huge selection of locally grown produce.
  • St. Elmo's Coffee Pub (Del Ray) - Brewed coffee, tea, and a few extra goodies. 
  • Baguette Republic (Sterling, VA) -  A traditional artisan bakery producing a large variety of artisan breads, pastries and cookies using the best European techniques and tradition.
  • No. 1 Sons (Alexandria, VA) - Traditional fermented vegetables and soy products.
  • Love and Glitter (Ellicott City, MD) - Our newest vendor brings HANDMADE goods from LOCAL artisans.
  • The Stifler Farm aka "What's For Dinner Now" will be back again this week after a one week absence. 
  • Swee Lo Sterling silver jewelry handcrafted by Balinese artisans designed by Swee Lo.
  • Olio Fresh olive oils and aged balsamics.
Crafts available on a rotating basis.

See below all the ways to help and participate in the market!

The supercool 4MRMarket t-shirt
BUY. Proceeds of our 4MRMarket T-shirts go to support the expansion and revitalization of 4MR Park. They cost $12 and come in 4 colors. See us model a few at the market.  You can pre-pay online via Pay-Pal (send money to

DONATE. Help 4MRMarket help 4MRPark. Tax-deductible donations can be made to support us in our efforts to revitalize Four Mile Run Park. Donate to the City's Living Landscape Fund to fund tree and other amenities at 4MRExpand More information here.

HELP. If you'd like to volunteer with the 4MRMarket, go to: to sign up or look for the "volunteer" tab on our website. You'll be able to volunteer to help process SNAP/EBT sales, help us keep our books, help set up or tear down for the market, or help us find musicians to play the market. You can also find a Market Manager to ask to help, or email us at for more info.

READ. Keep up to date on all the goings on by following 4MRMarket on Facebook or Twitter or via our website  and blog.

SPREAD THE WORD.  Please tell folks about us. And tell folks about some of the great things we're doing. For instance, all SNAP/EBT participants can take advantage of the Inova-sponsored "Double Dollar" program again this year that doubles the first $10 SNAP participants spend at the market. 4MRMarket is the first farmers’ market in Northern Virginia (and still the only) to accept SNAP. 


The Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market (Alexandria, Virginia 22305) brings fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels, provide an opportunity for local artisans and producers of goods to bring their wares to market, strive to reflect the diversity of the community, and improve the quality of life for Arlandria residents and visitors. It is part of an overall vision to expand and improve Four Mile Run park and the surrounding neighborhood.

4MRMarket is open every Sunday from 8am until 1pm from May through October in Four Mile Run Park at 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue, Alexandria. 
Buy Fresh Buy Local 4MRMarket products.

For more info see:
On Facebook:
On Twitter: @4MRMarket
Contact us at:
Or call the 4MRMarket hotline: (804) 4mi-Run1