Grand Lincoln Park winter market opening shows the impact of UMD professor’s research

 Community Action Duluth celebrated the grand opening of its Lincoln Park winter market on Nov. 16. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Community Action Duluth celebrated the grand opening of its Lincoln Park winter market on Nov. 16. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Since 2012, UMD associate professor Adam Pine has studied food deserts in Duluth and has helped find solutions to get food to communities that do not have access to it, whether it is because of a lack of transportation or a lack of a grocery store. This research has helped lead to the implementation of a summer market and now a new winter market which celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Pine said that his research did not tell the community something it did not know, but rather it confirmed the community’s concerns and produced data that could be used to press for change.

“People in Lincoln Park had been upset that there was no grocery store and had been organizing around that issue for a long time,” Pine said. “We didn’t go in there and dictate what the solution was, but we were able to provide some tools and some insights to help them think about things that they could do to help the neighborhoods they were living in.”

 Like the summer market, the winter market offers fresh produce and baked goods. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Like the summer market, the winter market offers fresh produce and baked goods. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Aimee Foster at Community Action Duluth said that they have known about the need for a winter market in Lincoln Park since the inception of their summer market. The winter market will be open on the first and third Thursdays of each month during the winter from 4 to 7 p.m. and will feature bread and baked goods, canned goods, coffee, tomato juice, carrots, potatoes and much more.

Among the newest features at the farmers markets in Lincoln Park is the Power of Produce Club. The PoP Club allows kids that visit the market to receive $2 worth of tokens that they can use to purchase fresh produce at the market.

“We just want to continue the farmers market,” Foster said. “I think it would be really cool if we could see that grow into other neighborhoods as well if there’s a need.”

According to Pine, academic research all over the world has shifted toward studying food, such as organic and local food. Pine said that he was interested in researching how these changes affect people that do not have enough food, which eventually led to his research on the food desert in Lincoln Park.

“It’s a question of distribution and we have those same problems with our distribution system in a city like Duluth and in the country and globally so they’re all part of the same conversation,” Pine said.

 Kids that visit the winter market receive a token worth $2 that can be spent at the market. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Kids that visit the winter market receive a token worth $2 that can be spent at the market. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Community Action Duluth, which has worked in Lincoln Park to establish food markets in the community, works with individuals in food deserts to address a lack of income, transportation, and a nearby grocery store in the hopes of solving the hunger problems in the community. One of the ways Community Action Duluth has helped solve the issue of transportation in Lincoln Park is by working with the Duluth Transit Authority to get a bus route that takes residents to a Super One grocery store in West Duluth.

Pine said that the new bus routes are a big innovation, and that changing bus routes to get residents to a grocery store is something that does not happen in other parts of the country.

“The problem is that if you try to study the whole system, you sort of get bogged down,” Pine said. “You have to address each individual problem but be aware that it’s connected to other problems also.”

Pine reiterated that there is no one solution to solve the issue of food deserts, but that people working towards a solution must ask those facing hunger about the problems they face in order to think of a solution to put into place.

“It’s not like Lincoln Park has a little book where they just open it up and say ‘what’s the next thing to do?’” Pine said. “They’re writing the book on how to solve this problem and I’m obviously happy to be a part of that.”

CultureTyler Schendel