We are leading a project to build A Year-Round Home for Our Farmers' Market

The Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project is an effort to revitalize two hundred-year-old freight shed barns in downtown Brunswick into a year-round farmers’ market and community gathering space. The barns are owned by the Brooks family, of Brooks Feed and Farm Supply store, and sit on the corner of Union and Weymouth Streets. The project concept involves a combination of historic preservation and complementary new construction to realize the full vision for the new market and community space.

Our Goals

1. Honor the agricultural and railroad history of the freight sheds by returning the market to the train tracks and bringing community gatherings back to the barns.
2. Build a permanent structure for the Market that connects to the surrounding landscape and provides shelter from inclement weather without replacing the open-air nature of the market.
3. Relieve significant traffic congestion caused by the market’s current weekday location on The Mall. Improve circulation, access, and parking for vendors, shoppers, and neighbors.
4. Create an additional community green space in the Downtown.
5. Ensure year-round public access to local farm produce and goods.
6. Offer a market accessible by car, foot, bike, and train.
7. Connect the new market to the centralized downtown by making it visible from its former location on the mall, using the new Station Avenue as the axis.
8. Enhance Brooks Feed and Farm Supply’s visibility and customer base.
9. Support our local farmers with a space designed specifically to meet their needs.

Project Progress

The feasibility study is on track to be completed by December of this year! Led by Theodore + Theodore Architects, it will assess construction costs and models for the long-term operational sustainability of the new market space.

A Phased Approach

As this is a project of the Brunswick Farmers’ Market Association, Phase One is designed to accommodate just the 15 vendors that are part of our Tuesday/Friday market on the mall. This phase will include the restoration of the smaller barn and the construction of a permanent canopy structure, as well as landscaping and site work to provide ample parking, create a community green space, and encourage smooth circulation through the site.

Phase One will give our weekday market the opportunity to operate year-round.

Phase Two envisions the construction of a new market hall large enough to welcome the vendor groups of the Crystal Spring Farmers’ Market and the Brunswick Winter Market, if and when they too need a new home. In the meantime, the new space will never host a market that conflicts with these existing weekend markets.

Our Story

View our story
1923

Barns built and owned by N.T. Fox Lumber Company

1970

Brooks family purchases barns

1986

Brunswick Farmers' Market Association is founded, and the downtown Brunswick farmers' market begins on The Mall.

2008
Fall

Ground is broken across the street from the barns for Maine Street Station. Original proposal for the development includes the Brooks family property, but Brooks family stays firm that the land is not for sale.

2009
Summer

Maina Handmaker and Wiebke Theodore receive grant from Bowdoin College's McKeen Center for the Common Good to research the history of the barns, the site, and the Brunswick Farmers’ Market. They produce Notes of a Farmers' Market: A Workbook, and invite the community to join a conversation about the future of the farmers’ market and the restoration of the barns. The project idea begins to brew.

2010
Winter

Handmaker and Theodore host The Brunswick Food Forum to discuss the future of Brunswick’s local food system.

2011
Fall

Town of Brunswick tries to purchase land and barns from the Brooks family to build a parking lot for long-term train passengers. The Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project works to prevent demolition of the barns.

2012
Summer

One of the Brooks barns is torn down. The structure was in much poorer condition than the future farmers’ market barns, and its demolition made room for a compromise between the Brooks and the Town. A new parking lot is paved in place of the old barn, and the Town begins a short-term lease on the lot from Gary Brooks. The vendors of The Brunswick Farmers’ Market Association vote to support the project.

June

Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project receives seed grant from Maine Preservation to support the effort to preserve the barns. Grant funds are used to hire Anthony Muench, landscape architect, to produce the first concept drawings of the vision for the new market.

August

Maine Preservation adds “Freight Sheds and Railroad Buildings” to their list of Most Endangered Historic Resources. The Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project and sister project the Bath Freight Shed Alliance are recognized as examples of good work to restore freight sheds for community use.

Fall

Amtrak Downeaster train begins service to Brunswick, reviving the railroad tracks parallel to the barns.

2013
Spring

Advisory Committee formed for Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project and first meetings take place; collaboration begins between Town of Brunswick, Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, and Brunswick Farmers’ Market Association.

Summer

Brunswick Farmers’ Market Project receives grant from the Brunswick Development Corporation to conduct feasibility study. The study is being led by Wiebke and Steven Theodore, of Theodore + Theodore Architects and set to be completed by December 2013.

Our Partners

Brooks Feed and Farm Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets Town of Brunswick, Maine Maine Farmland Trust Brunswick Topsham Land Trust

Stay Informed

Your feedback is so important to us!

Your comments can be sent to Maina Handmaker, Project Manager at brunswickfarmersmarketproject@gmail.com

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