Austin’s Local Markets Build Community Around Food, Fashion & Cherished Goods

Flea markets, farmers’ markets and more places where goods are exchanged create connection, local leaders say

By Holly Cowart
Austin Community Markets
Clothing brand Shavanthe finds community connection at Black Makers Market.

Broadly experienced but deeply personal to all, community can be a hard thing to define. To better understand what makes up the fabric of Austin’s community, we asked the leaders of beloved local markets to explain the term in their own words. From food to fashion, these individuals are establishing spaces that celebrate representation, create connections and provide economic opportunities for collective thriving. So what does community mean to you?

Kristin Jacobson

Founder, Austin Flea

Community to me is all about supporting local—whether that’s local artists and makers, local venues and establishments, or locally sourced foods and sundries. Our tagline for the Austin Flea is “Handmade. Vintage. Local.” We have such an array of talent in this city, and we are honored to be able to work with these artists and entrepreneurs every show. Additionally, we created an online store in May to give folks an opportunity to shop some of our amazing vendors online, and all of our events are held at locally owned and operated establishments, continuing the cycle of support. 

Upcoming Dates:

Feb. 27 – Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse
Feb. 28 – The Brewtorium
March 6 – Still Whiskey

Austin Markets: Austin Flea
Now in its 12th year, Austin Flea regularly partners with local businesses like Radio Coffee & Beer. Photo by Casey Woods.

Ericka Barnes

Founder, Dope Creatives Market & Black Makers Market

Community is creating a safe space for all members of the creative community to gather, collaborate and celebrate who we are. My motivation for forming the Dope Creatives Market and Black Makers Market was to establish an affordable, family-friendly and intentionally diverse platform for artists and small-business owners to connect with the communities they live in.

Upcoming Dates:

To Be Announced

Austin Markets: Black Makers Market
Ericka Barnes established Dope Creatives Market in 2018 before creating Black Makers Market (above) the following year, which exclusively features Black vendors, businesses and food trucks.

Ryan Lerma

Co-founder, Laissez Fair 

It’s a mutual understanding that as individuals we are in this together and the importance of supporting one another when possible to reach our individual and communal goals. Laissez Fair provides a space and platform for sellers to meet others in the vintage community and the opportunity to present themselves to a broader audience than they may have reached otherwise.

Upcoming Dates:

May 16 – Passport Vintage

Austin Markets: Laissez Fair Vintage
Laissez Fair is a tri-annual vintage market founded by Ryan Lerma, April Pritchard and Maria Oliveira.

TK Tunchez

Founder, Frida Friday ATX

To me, community is about building a fellowship with people who are committed to learning and growing with each other. It’s about being “in it” with each other as we evolve to our highest selves. Our work is specifically about creating intentionally intersectional spaces that celebrate our diversity and highlight our culture as progressive BIPOC, Latinx and Queers. I recognized ongoing gaps in resources that uplift WoC and economically disenfranchised communities and chose to make a cultural space that helps to address those needs by creating a new economic resource for our community. 

Upcoming Dates:

March 6 – Veracruz All Natural

Austin Markets: Frida Friday ATX
Frida Friday ATX highlights WoC through virtual markets and in-person event. Tunchez portrait by Whitney Devin.

Amy Gallo

Farm Viability Manager, SFC Farmers’ Market

Our community is made up of farmers, market shoppers, community gardeners, folks who want to cook for their families and anyone interested in supporting local food in Central Texas. Through our unique programming, we are creating win-win-win scenarios for anyone trying to access fresh food. For individuals who use nutrition assistance benefits, like SNAP and WIC, we match funds through our Double Up Food Bucks program so families can purchase more food at our markets. We also provide technical assistance and matchmaking services for farmers who want to scale up or reinvest in their farms. Sustainable Food Center cultivates a just and regenerative food system so people and the environment can thrive.

Upcoming Dates:

Every Saturday – Republic Square and Tony Burger Center

Austin Markets: SFC Farmers’ Market
Fresh produce from Richardson Farms (left) and Fredericksburg’s Hat & Heart Farm (right) from a SFC market in downtown Austin.

Read More From the Community + Wellness Issue | February 2021


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