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Comal Heritage Food Incubator’s booth at the Lost City Market. Photo courtesy of the Lost City

The Lost City Launches Pay-How-You-Can Farmers’ Market

The initiative will supply fresh, locally grown food to the Globeville Elyria-Swansea community—and you.

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Denver’s newest farmers’ market may not be the biggest or the flashiest, but it just may be one of the most important. The Lost City Market is a pay-how-you-can market that will provide fresh, healthy food to one of the city’s largest food deserts, the Globeville Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.

Beginning Wednesday, July 1, and running every Wednesday night through the end of October, the Lost City Market will set up at the TAXI complex in RiNo with a slew of locally grown and made goods. Customers can select what they need and pay for their groceries in one of three ways: Pay the suggested price; pay what they’re able, whether that’s above the list price, a couple dollars, or nothing at all; or pay for the goods by volunteering to work at future markets. The market, which is a partnership between Lost City, Focus Points Family Resource Center, and East Denver Food Hub, is open to everyone and will require face masks and social distancing.

“There are food banks out there, but we wanted to create a dignified shopping experience for everybody regardless of ability to pay,” says Michael Graham, owner of Lost City, a social impact-driven restaurant and community space.

The market grew out of the Denver Metro Emergency Food Network (DMEFN), a pandemic-born meal delivery service for homebound families and seniors. In partnership with Colorado Restaurant Response, the DMEFN has delivered more than a quarter of a million free meals, but they also saw that families needed fresh, healthy, affordable food. To get them quality groceries at a good price, and to support local farmers and vendors, the collaborators decided to start the pay-how-you-can farmers’ market.

“We wanted to see if there was a more sustainable model that we could put alongside DMEFN to help ensure food access for low income families,” Graham says. “We want to create another avenue for access to food, especially for neighborhoods that have been hit really hard, who are already facing food access issues like Globeville. We found some really good partners who are committed to the community, and we’ll have a pretty diverse basket of goods that appeals to a typical farmers’ market shopper and to folks who may not have a good grocery near.” Those vendors include some of the area’s best: Rebel Farm, Mile High Micro Greens, Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Metro Caring, Rebel Bread, and Clinica Tepeyac Gardens.

If you want to help keep this market going but aren’t ready to shop there, you can donate to Focus Points and add “Lost City Market” to the notes section to specify the money is to support the market. Or, if you’d like to shop, the market is held on Wednesdays, 5–8 p.m., at the TAXI complex near Lost City at 3459 Ringsby Court. All are welcome.

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