WARREN RI HOPE AND MAIN

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Hope & Main’s Schoolyard Market is stacked this summer

WARREN, RI (June 16, 2019) — The State’s first food business incubator continues its popular farmers-makers market this summer with a bit of a twist. On Father’s Day, Hope & Main’s “Schoolyard Market” will open for its fifth season and 2019 programming is stacked high with a full suite of activities for market-goers of all ages to enjoy.  Lawn chairs, wagons and many shopping totes are encouraged — as good music, great makers, local farms and food trucks await in the outdoor marketplace at the old Main Street School in Warren.

Hope & Main’s markets are known for being a product testing and debut venue for many local companies we know well such as the 2019 national Good Food Award-winning Sacred Cow Granola, and others gems yet to be discovered by Schoolyard Market customers.  Unlike any other venues in New England, the Schoolyard Market was designed to facilitate customer engagement and feedback as a vital part of Hope & Main’s role to launch and promote fledgling food businesses.

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This summer market-goers can expect even more interaction with opportunities for taste-testing and crowd sourcing, plus a full schedule of growing and gardening workshops, contests, competitions, and family fun. Says Hope & Main Founder, Lisa Raiola, “This market is unlike any other local food experience, because the customers at Schoolyard become part of the product development process for Hope & Main entrepreneurs.  It is a way for our makers to hear directly from eaters as we help our members to perfect their recipes, packaging and branding throughout the market season. In this way, the entire community can participate in building a new food sensation, like so many successful companies that have been launched from Hope & Main.”

With a family-friendly focus in mind, Hope & Main and Common Fence Music have teamed up to co-host a monthly series of concerts on select market days. The “Common Fence Music Schoolyard Series” features nationally touring musicians and will include hands-on instrument-making workshops, dancing and interactive performance. Themes will include Cajun, West African/Caribbean, Afro-Cuban and Bluegrass.

Both RI and MA Food Stamp (EBT) recipients are encouraged to shop at the Schoolyard to make the most of SNAP dollars. Hope & Main’s continued partnership with Farm Fresh Rhode Island provides a dollar for dollar match, doubling the amount that customers can spend. On-site farmers accept WIC and Senior Citizen coupons, too.

Last fall the USDA granted the Warren-based nonprofit a 3-year Farmers Market Planning and Promotion (FMPP) grant, which has helped Hope & Main hire a new, dedicated Market Manager. The FMPP grant has also enabled Hope & Main to team up with the University of Wisconsin to collect and analyze data on the impact of this innovative food incubation program on local job creation; building a more sustainable regional food system; and on overall economic development.

For a second year in a row Blount Fine Foods has stepped up as the market’s generous Presenting Sponsor. The local food icon will also join the marketplace to sell and debut new, local products. Pawtucket Credit Union is also supporting Hope & Main makers during the 2019 Schoolyard Market season.

Schoolyard Market happens every Sunday, 9am-1pm June 16-October 27 at Hope & Main, 691 Main Street, Warren, RI  02885. It is free and open to the public. Well-behaved, leashed pets welcome. Rain or shine. Public parking. A full list of vendors, programming and market-day details is available at http://www.makefoodyourbusiness.org/markets

ABOUT HOPE & MAIN

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Hope & Main, a 501c3, helps local entrepreneurs jumpstart early-stage food companies and other food-related businesses by providing low-cost, low-risk access to shared-use commercial kitchen space and other industry-specific technical resources. As Rhode Island’s only food business incubator, Hope & Main continues to grow, launching over 200 new food businesses since October 2014. One of every 3 food businesses established and domiciled in the State in the past 2 years was founded at Hope & Main. This unique non-profit has created more than 400 direct and indirect jobs since inception and, by partnering with 132 local farmers– as either vendors or producers at its markets or as sources for ingredients in members’ products– and has poured millions into the local food economy.  Hope & Main is a singular resource for the food community in Rhode Island, intentionally bringing together growers, makers, chefs, educators, buyers and eaters to develop and scale the market for local food.

With the assistance of a $3 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities loan, Hope & Main is an excellent example of economic development and healthy place-making driven by the adaptive re-use of a 100-year old elementary school that had been shuttered for the previous decade. Since opening its doors in 2014, Hope & Main and its member businesses have scaled rapidly. According to a March 2016 report of the American Communities Trust, Hope & Main is among the top 10% of food business incubators in the country by size of facility, revenues, staffing, range of services and equipment offered and number of member companies.

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