There's a relatively new market in town that seeks to support and celebrate underrepresented small businesses: the Safe Space Market Pop-Up will be held at Lakeside Farmers' Market every Friday in March from 4 to 7 p.m.
The market's stated mission is "to celebrate and promote the visibility of Richmond’s Black, POC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized makers, artists, organizations and small business owners." Each month, the market picks a local organization to support that is doing "important antiracist work, support work for LGBTQ+ folx, and working toward Black/Queer equity." This month, the market is working with RVA Community Fridges, a local organization that provides free food in free fridges around Richmond; there will be a tabbed canned food drive.
Among the vendors for the March event: Dayum this is my Jam, a queer and trans-owned jam, salsa, and pickle company; Enrich Compost, queer-owned composting; Color & Culture: Black-woman owned shirt company; Fragment Jewelry C., queer-owned jewelry company; Beez Wax & Co, Black-owned candles, sprays, and bath products; Rebelle Naturelle, Black-woman owned skincare company; Lady Street Studios, queer-owned print, cards, stickers and buttons; Worm Works Ceramics, LatinX butch-owned ceramic functional wares company; Roots RVA, teas, herbal blends, tea utensils; Karmalita’s Marshmallows & Confections, Black and LGBTQ-owned confections company; Bud & Thorn, LGBTQ-owned unique handmade scarves and masks; Copper Cottage, queer-owned tea and pins cuts by August: Black trans-woman offering gender-affirming haircuts; Bowler Images, queer photographer offering sliding-scale mini-sessions.
The Friday event also features live music and a food truck each week (last week it was local eats from La Bête). Besides being a welcoming and safe space for all individuals, the market will have strict mask and social distancing requirements and limit the number of people permitted inside the market at a time.
We asked a few questions of Andy Waller, founder and co-organizer of the event:
Style Weekly: How did this come about and how long has it been happening?
Andy Waller: The market is new! We have only been in operation since February. I've been involved with community organizing and events, especially with underrepresented small businesses, for about five years now. From working with numerous amazing local businesses and organizations, I continue to be blown away by the support Black, Trans, Queer and other marginalized businesses give to one another. It felt important more than ever to have a space where folx can come and be in community and truly be as safe as possible.
How do you choose which local org to support?
With input from vendors, the community, and organizers. We seek to work with local organizations doing important antiracist work, support work for LGBTQ+ folx, and working toward Black/Queer equity.
What's been the highlight so far for you?
The remarkable and inspiring resilience and of these makers, artists, organizations, and creatives. Considering we faced a kind of pandemic (racism, homo/transphobia, xenophobia, etc) before COVID, it is incredible that we continue our work and continue to lift each other up. The strength of underrepresented communities, even when so many forces try to do us harm or silence us, is something I am deeply proud of.