Added: Michale Sanner - Date: 16.12.2021 07:03 - Views: 28657 - Clicks: 3361
The Letcher County Farmers Market began sowing the seeds for a healthier community three years ago when community leaders launched the market. Today the small market that began with just a few farmers has grown as a result of the strong community support.
The program was developed to provide business development resources, technical support, and grant and loan assistance for farmers' markets, with the goal of building farmers' market capacity and farmers' market vendor skills. Horn explained that when the idea for the market was developed with a small group of farmers and volunteers she was working within her role with Grow Appalachia at the time.
The planning done now will really benefit farmers that sell at the Letcher County marketin the long term. Valerie pointed out that the CFA FMSP also provided a great networking opportunity for the market leaders by connecting them with market managers in the region and state.
While the heart of the Letcher County Farmers Market remains the local farmers, it is the programs offered by the market that make it a community market. We have three main community focused programs at the market this year, the Summer Feeding Program, the Double Dollars Program, and the Farmacy Program," explained Valerie.
Valerie learned about the Summer Feeding Program at a CFA meeting inand soon began working within the community to make the program a part of the market. The USDA sponsored program is deed to provide school children afree healthy meal at a safe location during the summer break.
The market partnered with the Letcher County Public Schools to bring the program to the community. Our busiest day last summer we served 73 meals made with products fresh from the farm. Horn explained that the summer feeding program has been more than just a community service for the children, it is been an opportunity for the growers to build a market relationship with the local school system.
For the program, the school purchases food from the growers on Saturday morning to make the meals, and the growers invoice the school and are reimbursed by the school board. MCHC also stepped in this year to help the market expand another community focused program, the Double Dollars program.
Abby explained that customers visit with their MCHC physician who prescribes a prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables to be redeemed at the Letcher County Farmers Market at no cost to the patient. The City of Whitesburg provides the matching funds for Market Manager to allow the market to have dedicated staff for managing the market.
It has been a great opportunity to work with the community, it is just the place I feel like I belong.
While both Abby and Valerie can see how the programs offered through the market have been key to developing a strong customer base, they also recognize the need to provide the support to the farmers that make the market possible. Grow Appalachia, hosted by Cowan Community Center, has been a strong supporter for the grower and market providing support to the grower and resources for the market including tents, tables, scales, and more.
All a farmer has to do is show up at the market and sell their products. The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development is a non-profit organization established to facilitate agricultural and rural businesses in Kentucky. Additional support is provided through our work with partners around the state and through fees charged for select client services. Who We Are. Meet the Team. Board of Directors. Services and Tools. Start Your Business. Grow Your Business.
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