Red Square construction causes farmers market to downsize

April 2, 2024

Photo by Izzy Wagener

Since Feb. 26, a section of Red Square has been blocked for construction, temporarily downsizing the Georgetown Farmers Market, which returned from its winter hiatus on March 20. The market, which is coordinated by a student organization named GU Farmers Market, brings food vendors to Red Square every Wednesday during the fall and spring months.

The construction, which is for repairs on a chilled water line in White-Gravenor Hall, is expected to last until early April. In the meantime, the GU Farmers Market has had to work around the blocked area. 

The GU Farmers Market had to decide which vendors to cut to accommodate the construction.

“Mostly it was based on space and how long-standing the relationship with the university and with the farmers market has been. Vendors that have been coming for a while and are used to having their spots here, we definitely tried to accommodate them,” Emma Pernebo (CAS ’25), one of the co-directors of the GU Farmers Market, said.

Last semester, the farmers market hosted 12 vendors each week. On March 20, this was limited to nine, and on March 27, they were able to accommodate 10. Other vendors did not reapply to participate in the spring, reducing the number of vendors the organization would otherwise have had to cut.

In order to retain as many vendors as possible, the GU Farmers Market asked vendors to downsize as well. 

“The primary concern was how much space they took up and what was really great was a lot of the vendors were able to kind of size down,” Pernebo said. “For instance, Stroker’s, they used to have a smoker and a food truck, and now they have consolidated to just a tent.”

Stroker’s BBQ, which joined the farmers market in March 2023, is a Maryland-based barbecue food truck.

GU Farmers Market is also finding creative ways to ensure that new vendors can participate. In the next few markets, the board hopes to invite those vendors to sell in a pop-up spot on a rotating basis. Once construction ends, the organization hopes both to bring back any vendors who were excluded from the downsized market and to give the pop-up vendors permanent spots.

Though their proposals for how to lay out the market around the construction were approved, Pernebo and the Board were uncertain about how the first spring Farmers Market would go. Concerns included whether vendors would truly be able to downsize, whether any stands would block the ADA accessible ramp in Red Square, or if lines would crowd the space and block students from getting to class.

The event, however, went quite well. Though many students attended the market, they mostly stood in orderly lines that did not block the main paths through the square or the ADA ramp. The largest issue ended up being the high winds, which made it difficult for vendors without weighted tents to operate.

“It went a lot smoother than we expected. The university worked with us and was great and gave us the thumbs up, and the vendors were really accommodating and kind,” Pernebo said. “The wind honestly ended up being our major concern.”

With the farmer’s market being a staple of the fall and spring season at Georgetown, for over 10 years students, vendors, and the university have been working to support it despite the construction.

“The market is such a great Georgetown tradition,” Pernebo said. “I think everyone is really wanting to work collaboratively to accommodate whoever we can and do whatever we can to bring the market back and bring the vendors back as soon as possible.”

Lou Jacquin
Lou Jacquin is tired. After being a Voices Assistant, Voices Editor, Opinion Executive, designer, Editorial Board member, the inaugural archivist, and writing at least on piece for every section, Lou is ready for a nap.

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