BJCTA Intermodal will host Birmingham’s newest farmer’s market. Ingenious.

Birmingham's Intermodal Terminal will host the city's newest farmers market.
Birmingham’s Intermodal Terminal stretches along Morris Avenue between 17th and 19th Streets. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Even while Birmingham boasts numerous farmers markets and grocery options, people in large parts of the city live in what are commonly referred to as “food deserts.” Now, a new farmer’s market at Birmingham’s Intermodal Terminal will bring fresh, healthy food to a spot many people use every day.

What is Birmingham’s Intermodal Terminal?

The intermodal facility is a local transportation hub that brings many people together.
A look at the inside of Birmingham’s Intermodal Terminal. Photo by Hunter Drinkard for Bham Now

It’s a one-stop shop for all your ground transportation needs. Need a MAX Bus to get you out to The Summit or over to West End? Wanna hop a Greyhound to get out of town? How ’bout a MegaBus to Atlanta? Maybe it’s an Amtrak ride on the NOLA Crescent you’re after. Or an afternoon on a Zyp Bike through Railroad Park.

The Intermodal Terminal has all of that in one convenient location. Soon, it’ll have a farmers market, too.

What exactly is a food desert?

There's food in food deserts, if you count convenience store food. What's missing is the good healthy stuff.
Frozen Food Corner,” by Random Retail. CC BY 2.0

Think of where you go to get your food. Maybe now you can drive to a grocery store just 10-20 minutes away without giving it much thought.

Now imagine your car’s not working, and your only options are on foot. What’s available now?

For a lot of people in Birmingham, life without a car is reality, and the only local food options are convenience stores—great for picking up snacks. Not great for healthy, delicious food.

Here’s the USDA’s official definition:

Food deserts are defined  as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

US Department of Agriculture

How will the BJCTA Intermodal Farmers Market change Birmingham’s food landscape?

Fresh veggies at Pepper Place farmers market.
Produce from Henke Farms at Pepper Place Market. Photo from Facebook

Now imagine you’re on a bus to or from work and you have a stop at the Intermodal. You can swing by the farmers market—without having to make a special trip—to pick up some fresh veggies or fruits. Now you can take it home to whip up a tasty meal for your family or friends.

Now that’s a whole new kind of convenience store . . .


While the details are still a work in progress, you can expect to see this new farmers market soon, thanks to the Alabama Department of Commerce and Economic Affairs (ADECA) and the City of Birmingham.

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference