The Waco Downtown Farmers Market officially kicked-off on Saturday, November 19, 2011. However, the Market did not magically appear over night. Many months – and even years – went into its planning and preparation. Starting in the winter months of 2010, numerous vendors and downtown businesspeople assembled to discuss the creation of a farmers market in the downtown area – yet many current regulations prohibited the sale of meat, cheese, and eggs with the existence of electricity and refrigeration on-site. Thus the Waco Farmers Market Permit Ordinance was crafted by the City’s Planning Department and passed in the winter of 2011. Meanwhile, many other smaller markets formed across Waco but were not re-opened in 2011.
With the passage of the new Ordinance, another group of folks started to meet to re-discuss the idea of a Downtown Farmers Market. Planning and recruitment of new vendors found new vigor under the leadership of local farmer Terry Vanderpool, complemented by the community connections of Bethel Erickson-Bruce and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition. Chris McGowan (Director of Urban Development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce), James Nelson (Community Bank-er), Frankie Beckwith, Sara Shoup, Paxton Dove (owner of Dancing Bear Pub, co-founder of Green Kitchen), and Malcolm Duncan (City Councilman) also joined forces and met weekly as the group formed the Waco Downtown Farmers Market Board. The old RV Park behind the Fire Tower was selected as the official site to operate the farmers market and final preparations were made.
At the Grand Opening , over 2000 community members attend the Waco Downtown Farmers Market – that featured over 20 vendors. The Market also served as the final event of the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week organized by the McLennan County Hunger Coalition and Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition.