Last month The Neighborhood Development Co., Asturian Construction, and Market 7 hosted a ground-breaking ceremony to start the construction of Benning Market; a new multi-use development site that will include a 7,000-square-foot food hall in the Ward 7 section of Washington, D.C. The venue is located at 3451 Benning Road NE.
The market celebrated the ground-breaking on their new permanent location on its Twitter account, “Cheers to our permanent home! Thank you to everyone that attended. #Fall2020 #Ward7Strong #Market7dc #WeBuiltThis“
The flea market that brought black businesses together in a parking lot was started in 2017 to meet the needs of local people who had to travel to other parts of the city for retail and food options. It has partnered with local urban farmers, entrepreneurs, and community stakeholders in order to provide market-based solutions to the crucial health and economic problems facing the Ward 7 community.
In two short years, the marketplace has gathered 60 new small businesses to the Ward 7 community through alternative pop-up markets. “There is no reason why I should have to cross the bridge to go and get items, produce, food, clothes, and services, which is what most of us have to do in Ward 7 and 8. Having something like this is important,” Dr. Judy Walton, a resident of Ward 7, said in a statement.
More than 80% of Ward 7 residents have to travel to Ward 6 or into Maryland to shop for some or all of their food and grocery needs, although they preferred not to leave the area to do so.
Market 7 will be the anchor tenant at Benning Market and will continue its work to address the food and retail disparities in communities east of the river. Ward 7 residents will benefit from the cultivation of the new food hub since they have experienced very limited food options for several years.
“This is more than just retail,” says founder Mary Blackford in a press release, “Market 7 is a real, multi-generational, community-based approach to sustaining Ward 7. The new Market 7 at Benning Market will be an exciting expansion of the work we are already doing to bring abundance, vitality, and total wellness to our community by creating a space where our local food ecosystem and small businesses can thrive.”