JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Empire Market is celebrating four years of offering healthy options in downtown.

Today the market had hourly giveaways, a birthday card for guests to sign and a three tier cake that was donated by “Cakerie by Dawn.”

Guests were able to pet and feed the goats and alpacas in the garden along with Willow the flemish giant rabbit.

“Its always always great to support your local economy, I think. These are your neighbors they are people that live down the road. Most of the items you can buy here at the market have traveled less than 50 miles to be sold here every Saturday. I think it’s great to be able to support people in our community,” said Lindsay Gagnon, Empire Market Director.

Since June 2020 the market has provided hundreds of free kids meals with its Empire Sprouts Kids Meal Program.

In the next few weeks the market is planning on breaking ground on its commercial kitchen expansion.