Location: 946 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206
Interview with Mike Premo, Director of Engagement, Community Development for All People
How long have you been here? What is going on?
This is the All People Fresh market. We have been here since February 2018. We were across the street prior, but when this drive thru liquor store became available, we took it over and rehabbed it and turned it into the fresh market. It is the largest fresh food distribution in central Ohio and one of the top twenty in the country. We are seeing more than seven hundred people a day.
Sidebar: My eyes bugged out.
It is a common reaction whenever I give that number (serving more than seven hundred people a day). I was looking for that response.
When the corona virus hit, we changed our operations. Before, folks would go into the market, browse around, shop for what they wanted, and then check out as if you were going to a farmer’s market. Now, because we want to maximize safety, it is set up so people can pull up and stay in their car. They are handed a box full of stuff that we select for that day. Folks are welcome to come back as often as required.
How do you get all this food?
Most of the food is donated through the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. We are grateful for our partnership with them. We also get stuff from Kroger and other area stores.
Can people write a check that is a tax-deductible donation?
Sure, people can contribute at 4allpeople.org/give. That would help support our programming here at the market, the free store, bike shop, etc. all our programs that we are working on to help transform the south side into a sustainable mixed income community where all people are welcome.
What if a person does not want their donation to go to admin?
They can fill out the memo line and say exactly how they want their donation to be used. If they want it to go to the fresh market, they can put “fresh market.” That money will go directly to the programming of the fresh market.
Are all these people volunteers? If so, how does one volunteer?
Most people are volunteers. We would not be able to do this if we did not have this amazing army of volunteers. Folks can go to 4allpeople.org/volunteer. We will contact them and put them to work. It is a great volunteer experience. We will schedule based on your schedule. If you have an hour, five hours, one time, once a week, etc. I guarantee if you volunteer here, you will not stop coming back. It is a great experience.
Tell me the hours.
The market is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
This is available to anyone. No matter where you live. If your household income is below the 200 % of the federal poverty limit, you are welcome to shop here. Once you are signed up, you are welcome to come back as many times as you want. There is no limit on the number of days you can shop here. We believe we live in a divine economy of abundance. There are enough resources out here. It is an allocation issue. We have been doing this a long time and we have never run out of food. Come on down.
What verification do people need to bring? Tax returns, etc.
We just ask them to certify that their income falls below a certain line. That is good enough for us.
Tell me about the mural.
The mural was designed by John Sunami. The mural is the stages from farm to table.
The first panel is the farm.
The second panel is the store. The third panel is the kitchen.
The fourth panel is the table.
The idea is, you come here and stop, take the food home, and prepare it. Once the mural was designed, the artist set it up so we could have hundreds of people come and do a little bit of painting here and there, We had scaffolds up so people could do the higher part and some of the lower part. It was an all-day affair. I think we had about one hundred and fifty people from the community come out and paint that day. It is a great attraction for the south side. Folks comment on it all the time. It is a great addition to the south side.
I observed the volunteers. They made me ALMOST want to put my camera down and start serving the community. I didn’t observe anyone complaining. Everyone appeared to be up beat, positive and smiling. I can see why people continue to volunteer.