Mercado Esperanza

A Kresge Foundation FreshLo and NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives funded project, the Mercado Esperanza is a flexible community market celebrating the food heritage, cultural legacy, and artistic soul of New Brunswick’s diverse population and Esperanza Neighborhood. The Mercado Esperanza is a project initiative under Elijah’s Promise through the Promise Culinary School which works to incubate small food businesses for participating Promise Culinary students and graduates as well as local residents enrolled our school’s food business incubation program.

At the Mercado, local residents gather, shop, sell, dance, perform, and express their creativity and entrepreneurship. The Mercado also works to remove many economic barriers preventing residents from vending food for additional income and works to connect qualifying residents to commercial kitchen space, and cost-sharing strategies for ingredient procurement.

To ensure community ownership, this project is managed by the Friends of the Mercado, a counsel of local residents committed to ensuring that the Mercado reflects their community’s spirit and needs. The Mercado Esperanza is also operated in partnership with New Brunswick Tomorrow and coLAB Arts who have helped strengthen this initiative by adding their respective agency strengths and expertise to the project.

Officially beginning on April 22, 2018, the Mercado Esperanza is generating community impact through economic empowerment that creates local wealth, creative placemaking with flexible artistic programming, community health and access to city-wide health services, and social equity through the connection of various cultures and low-barrier to entry economic opportunity.

If you are interested in participating as a food or cultural vendor at the Mercado, please contact Elijah’s Promise by emailing To learn more about the Promise Culinary School’s food business incubation program, please contact


If you have questions about the Mercado, or if you are interested in participating as a food or cultural vendor at the Mercado, email Tiffany, the Mercado Esperanza Coordinator or complete the form below.

Next Events

Learn when the next Mercado is taking place.

Mercado Sponsors

Thank you to our amazing sponsors whose support helps make the Mercado Esperanza possible!

The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation