Community

The Gray Street Farmers Market, located in east Downtown Louisville, will open for its 10th season on Thursday.

The market is operated by the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Science in partnership with Louisville Metro’s Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Melissa Schreck is the school’s director of external affairs. She said the market was started to serve an area with little access to fresh food.

“We’re across the street from Smoketown, near Shelby Park and Phoenix Hill,” Schreck said. “There is no grocery store serving this area, and the food choices in terms of even fast food — we just have limited food choices across the board.”

The market also serves a number of residents who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP.

For that reason, they started a dollar-for-dollar matching program for SNAP recipients.

“It’s really simple for someone to use the program,” Schreck said. “A SNAP customer visits the farmers market information booth, decides how much they want to spend, and then we match that amount dollar for dollar, and then they have wooden tokens to make purchases directly with vendors.”

In 2017, the program doubled the spending power of 60 SNAP households, said Schreck, which gave them a total of $2,200 to spend at the market.

The Gray Street Farmers Market is open 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Thursday through Oct. 25.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.