Artisans Out As Downtown Growers' Market Plans To Open With Food Vendors Only

Mar 27, 2020

The statewide stay-at-home order announced by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 23 orders all "non-essential” businesses to close until April 10, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Farmers’ markets are considered “essential businesses” under the order and can remain open. Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers’ Market is now hoping to open on its original start date of April 18, with certain adjustments, which means local artisans are likely out of luck this season. 

This week’s state Department of Health order deemed farmers’ markets “essential." While the update is a relief for those selling edible items, artisans are still without a market this season. 

Amy Baca Lopez, an artist who has sold paintings and prints at the Growers’ Market for three seasons, says a majority of her revenue comes from setting up a booth at Robinson Park. “It’s kind of like getting an email saying that I lost my job,” she said. “But I knew that it was coming.”

She said she’ll lean on commissions, online orders and savings, hoping for an arts boon once the current public health restrictions ease-up. “People are going to be jonesing to buy art because they’re tired of looking at the walls in their house,” said Baca Lopez. “So, I do see some light at the end of this, but I’m preparing for a long haul.” 

Last week, the Downtown Growers Market told vendors it would have to postpone after its city permit was denied. Following the stay-at-home order, however, market managers said they now hope to open on time, but with only food vendors selling to-go products from booths set twelve feet apart. 

In its email to vendors, the market also offered support to artisans like Baca Lopez, such as displaying product images on its website and making referrals to alternative funding. 

The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market has also moved to a food-only roster. Its website says it believes the market is currently safer for customers than conventional grocery stores.