Ho-Chunk Inc, an economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is building a community farmers market on the Winnebago Reservation, thanks in part to New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). Travois is happy to have served as NMTC consultant to Ho-Chunk Inc.
The new building will provide a market for farmers and local craft vendors to sell their products and for community members to purchase local goods. The market will also allow for year-round sales. Being semi-covered, vendors and customers will be sheltered and protected from harsh winds and rain.
The market’s management is working on plans to incorporate Native farming and harvesting methods that were used by Winnebago ancestors — many generations ago. Classes will be offered to the community and the public elementary school. The tribe would like to see more Native farmers in the community.
The farmers market will also act as a central meeting point for the tribe’s food sovereignty initiatives. “Food sovereignty brings people, communities, organizations and tribal governments together to share, promote and support best practices and policies that enhance dynamic Native food systems that promote holistic wellness, sustainable economic development, education, reestablished trade routes, stewardship of land and water resources, peer-to-peer mentoring, and multigenerational empowerment,” said Alexcia Boggs, director of development for Ho-Chunk Inc. “The farmers market is an important focal point of all of this.”
In addition to the vendor space, the building will include a classroom. The local college will lease the space and in addition, will provide lessons to farmers market vendors, helping them create thriving businesses.
Congratulations, Ho-Chunk Inc. and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska! This is a great addition to the community, and we can’t wait to see it in business!