Affordability of the Red River Market

As the school year enters September, the Red River Market season is nearing a close. The Red River Market is not simply a farmer’s market, but a summertime street fair advertised as a place for community in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area.  

Intersected between Broadway and Second Avenue North, operation of booths and performances range from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday. The season lasts from the beginning of July to the end of October. During the day, consumers can walk through various vendors, meet with community members and enjoy entertainment right from downtown Fargo.  

Lesley Buegel, the program coordinator since 2020, thinks that providing a space for local food and produce vendors is a priority. She says the process for planning the event usually gets started as early as February. All the planning that goes into making a seasonal market available takes time.  

Lesley Buegel. | Rachel Hauschildt

In order to become a vendor at the Red River Market, applicants need to undergo an application process to ensure that all products are either made or grown by applicants, live within 200 miles of the area, and have sustainable and compostable packaging.  

Lesley has made it a habit to get almost all of her own goods and produce from the Red River Market.  “Good for the body, good for the mind, good for the spirit,” Buegel said. She noted that she always grabs lunch before heading home.  

One of the concerns of college students is how to buy produce on a frugal budget. Traveling all the way to Fargo to buy produce from local members of the community can be seen as a way of giving back. However, with the Red River Market only being available once a week, many students prefer shopping at retailers such as Aldi or Walmart because they see it as a better financial decision.  

Senior Kellan Schauer has only visited the Red River Market twice over the span of time that he has studied at Concordia College.  

“I’d probably stick to Aldi for now, but occasionally buy stuff from the market, but if I was in a better financial situation I would love to get my produce fresh,” Schauer said. Although he does not buy produce, Schauer loves looking at all the different trinkets and getting to be able to connect with the larger Fargo-Moorhead community. 

The Red River Market attempts to maintain a comparable market price. Student Organizations & Programming Coordinator Kathryn Erickson is a very strong advocate for the Red River Market. Although she has not made it down this year, she has a steady tradition of going. Erickson said, “I was really watching the differences between the grocery store versus the market.  And plus, you know the products are from the local growers in the area.”  

Although buying produce is a very large part of the Red River Market, it is not what makes this farmer’s market a hub for community. Live music from local artists, cooking demonstrations from market vendors, and cultural performances are offered throughout the entire day.  

The Red River Market also swipes and matches SNAP. In addition, bus waivers are available and downloadable on their website at www.redriver.market. 

College Day is coming up.  Concordia College, North Dakota State University, Minnesota State Community and Technical College and Rasmussen University will all have booths on Sept 10. College students are encouraged to attend for a chance to get to know the greater Fargo-Moorhead community better.  

Whether buying or participating in the larger Fargo-Moorhead community, the Red River Market is one of the ways that students can shop local.  

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