Christian Wagman: Bringing Penn Market back to life

Christian Wagman (Our York Media)

Standing on the front steps of his West Market Street home, Christian Wagman can see the great brick façade of Penn Market. It’s less than 500 yards, just a short walk away. 

So, in some ways, he feels kind of selfish for wanting it to succeed — who doesn’t want a great market that close to home? 

But the more involved he gets through the Friends of Penn Market, the less he’s concerned about convenience for him and the more he cares about the good of the community. 

He’s gotten to know the farmers and venders. 

“They’re their own little microcosm, their own little family,” he says. 

He especially relates to the farmers. They work so hard to grow their food, and they’re bringing healthy and nutritious options to an area that needs them, he says. 

A lot of people in his neighborhood don’t have access to vehicles — they can’t just hop in their car and run to a grocery store for fresh produce.  

“Know them or not,” he says, “you want your neighbors to be happy and healthy and have options.” 

“Know them or not, you want your neighbors to be happy and healthy and have options.”

Once he realized how great the need was, it just made sense to Christian to dedicate more of his time to helping the market grow and succeed. 

“If it’s not me,” he says, “who’s going to do it?” 

The commute is nice and short. Lately, it’s felt like real tangible progress has been made.  

He and other volunteers filled a giant dumpster — getting rid of old parts of stalls that were just there because no one had bothered to get rid of them.  

It was a step in the right direction. 

Christian has high hopes for Penn Market. 

He wants it to be an anchor in the WeCo neighborhood, to be a gathering place for all the diverse local cultures to feel comfortable and welcome. 

A vibrant, traditional farmers market where people could do their weekly grocery shopping would fill a gap in the neighborhood. 

And yes, selfishly, he’d still just love a great market right outside his house. 

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