NFM launches major renovation, announces new programming

“Just like the entrepreneurs that operate here, the Market has and continues to be resilient and innovative,” Tasha Kennard, executive director of the Nashville Farmers’ Market, told the crowd at this morning’s event that kicked off a major renovation project. “This is an exciting time at the Market and we gather today to celebrate upcoming renovations and share our efforts to support more farmers, artisans and small businesses in our community.” Nashville Mayor David Briley waits for his chance to speak just right of center.

The Nashville Farmers’ Market (NFM) kicked off its long-anticipated renovation this morning with an event dubbed Growing Together. In addition to kicking off the renovation, the event described new programming in support of urban farms and small food and artisan businesses. Nashville Mayor David Briley, Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, NFM Board member Margot McCormack and NFM Executive Director Tasha Kennard all spoke at the event.

“Over the course of the next six months,” Kennard told the assembled crowd, “we will complete major renovations to this facility to improve accessibility and operations, increase programming and create new leasable space for the growing number of businesses operating at the Market.” (Read Kennard’s full remarks.)

Half of the 3,000 square feet of leasable space will be devoted to new classroom and meeting spaces on the second floor while the other half will entail retail space inside the Market House. 

Most visibly, the renovation will transform the northern and southern Market House entrances. This segment will turn the current loading dock on the north end into a graceful façade that will include a welcoming entrance with a wooden canopy, public art and new signage and lighting. A new corridor will guide visitors directly to the middle of the Market House.     

Also significant will be the installation of a new HVAC system, plus moving the compost/recycling/waste management area outside and adjacent to the Market House — a significant step in support of NFM’s plan to be a “zero-waste” facility by 2020. Since April, the NFM has generated more than 100,000 pounds of compost, and the new compost/recycling collection area will greatly increase the capacity for compostable material along with improved recycling.

The renovation project, currently underway and scheduled to be completed in spring 2019, has awarded more than 70 percent of contracts to minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses. 

New programming
In addition, Kennard announced the creation of an urban farm residency program and the expansion of the current artisan residency program. 

The urban farm residency will include two local farmers — Rally House Farms and Bass Farms — who will grow and harvest products including lettuce, micro greens and herbs on-premises within a converted shipping container and greenhouse, respectively (both operations will accept EBT and participate in the Market’s Fresh Savings program that offers a match of up to $20 with participating farmers).

The artisan residency has been expanded to include three new residents this winter, including Bubble Love, Heart of Nashville and Neta's Naturals. In addition, a new kiosk program will provide a low-cost, low-barrier retail opportunity for artisans who are ready to expand their operations beginning in the spring. Applications for the artisan kiosk and new leasable space will be accepted in January 2019 and approved by the NFM Board in the spring. 

Mayor Briley, a longtime supporter of the Market, noted that his family came to the Nashville area more than two centuries ago. “They didn’t come for the music back then,” he explained. “They came here to farm.”

“When Nashville does something good like this, it’s a community project,” he stated.

View press coverage of the event

The slideshow below features architectural renderings from inside and outside the new north entrance.

David Gonnerman