“The Latino population in southern Wisconsin has grown by more than 50% in the last ten years and the necessities of this population haven’t really been addressed, especially in the way they engage with the community,” said Marcos Lozano, manager of el Mercadito at Centro Hispano in Madison.

El Mercadito was created three years ago to address the food insecurities faced by the south side community. This community market mimics those in Latin America, where markets are more than a place for transactions, they are safe places where the smells of fresh herbs and produce mix with a sense of home and security.

El Mercadito’s mission is to offer an open and healthy place where members of Madison’s Southside community can share their heritage and culinary traditions. As well as, to offer produce and products to help break some of the food insecurities faced by southside community members.

Given the current political climate, this year’s Mercadito will be about more than that.

“We don’t just want el Mercadito to be a farmer’s market, we want it to be more of a family day. Where people can come and meet the vendors, get the food that reminds them of home, participate in cultural activities, and get important information from local non-profit organizations,” Lozano said.

Aside from providing fresh produce and products from local vendors, this year el Mercadito will team up with local non-profit organizations which provide information on CSA programs, immigration services, and legal services to help serve the south side community.

“I think that a lot of members of the community are scared right now to ask for these services, and i think that showing them a safe place where they can go and talk to other people like them, and also get a little more information about services is very important right now,” said Deanna Sell, Mercadito’s VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) Food and Wellness Coordinator.

El Mercadito will take place at Centro Hispano located at 810 W Badger Rd. every Sunday from June 4th to Sept 24th from 1 to 4 pm.

Mercadito2El Mercadito will offer a variety of produce and products from fresh tortillas from Tortilleria Los Angeles, body care products from Body Shine, to local honey from Bee Barf Honey Company.

There will be many free activities for children and cooking demonstrations taught by Ana Brito, a Venezuela native, and mother of two will teach parents on the go how to cook healthy and easy recipes.