Eating is an agricultural act. -Wendell Berry
The St. Matthews Farmers Market was founded in May 2007 by a small and very determined group of members of Beargrass Christian Church. They had three objectives in mind:
- Creating a festive, family-friendly Saturday event, available free to everyone from late spring to early fall
- Providing a vibrant sales venue for local farmers looking to sell their home-grown produce; at that time, few such markets existed in Louisville or had available space for growth
- Continuing their congregation’s long tradition of reaching outside the church walls to serve the wider Louisville community
For 15 years, the market has been serving the needs of St. Matthews and the larger community.
In the first of many ministries that three-decade member, Bob Callander, would come to envision and launch, and after exploring such markets in other cities and determining only a few small ones existed in Louisville, Callander organized a core group of interested Beargrass members to consider the concept for Saturday mornings on our outdoor campus. Their goals were simple but their aims were high.
Initially, getting the concept off the ground was not so simple. Callander’s team determined they would move forward if 25 farmers and producers could be convinced to participate. After many seemingly unfruitful visits and communications by the group, a breakthrough came with a call from Irvin Stoll, owner of Gypsy Ridge Farm in southern Indiana. After seeing the layout and location of Beargrass, Stoll proclaimed, “I’ve been selling at farmers markets for 30 years, and this is the best venue I’ve ever seen.”
With Gypsy Ridge as the first, 22 more farmers and producers signed on as charter members and the St. Matthews Farmers Market was born. It was an instant success, bringing an amazing vibrancy to the corner of Shelbyville Road and Browns Lane every Saturday, May to September, as well as a newfound, citywide recognition for Beargrass Christian Church. It would soon become an award-winning market on a statewide basis.