Farmers Markets

Posted by on Sep 18, 2011 under

An important aspect of repioneering rural communities is connecting residents with locally produced foods through farmers markets.

Farmers markets are becoming more and more popular across the United States — 7,175 farmers markets were registered with the USDA in August of 2011, nearly double the 2005 amount.  Reflecting a growing interest in healthier eating and diversification in agriculture, farmers markets connect consumers with fresh, locally produced foods, provide an outlet for artists and crafters and offer a way to build stronger communities in both urban and rural areas.

While roadside produce stands and single-vendor markets continue to thrive, more and more markets feature multiple vendors, handicrafts and musical entertainment.  The demand for fresh produce is so great, in fact, that some farmers are having trouble meeting demand.

Farmers markets are encouraging farmers to explore alternative crops, organic farming techniques and innovative marketing approaches, such as teaming with nearby schools to provide healthier lunches.

 Farmers markets are also important community building tools, allowing people to meet with their neighbors and also the people producing food locally.  Farmers markets are integral to “community supported agriculture” and are becoming important features of both urban and rural communities.

 

The Country Market

Lori Krohn

Albion is now among the growing number of rural communities with weekly farmers markets.  It was started in June 2011 by local “repioneers” Lori Krohn and her daughters Stacy Gragert and Michelle Devine to provide an outlet for local produce and “something that young kids moving back here would enjoy.”  The “Country Market” is open every Saturday morning on the north side of the courthouse and features local baked goods, crafts, meats, cheeses, garden produce, craft demonstrations and entertainment.  Vendors pay a weekly or seasonal fee and provide their own tables, tents, awnings, coolers and other equipment.

Ms. Krohn and her daughters were assisted in developing the Country Market by Jill Anding of the Albion Chamber of Commerce and Albion Economic Development Corporation, Northeast Nebraska RC&D, food inspectors and others, including Sandy Patton, director of the Farmer’s Market Mom’s Project based in Plainview.

 

Farmer’s Market Mom’s Project

 

Funded by a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant, the Farmer’s Market Mom’s Project has encouraged the development and expansion of markets in both northeast Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota.  Through numerous workshops in both states, Ms. Patton has helped with the development of a number of markets, including the one in Albion.

The Farmer’s Market Mom’s Project has also produced a guidebook entitled “A Family Guide to Finding and Growing Fresh Food” which is available on their website.  Their website also features information on getting started in gardening; becoming a vendor; choosing, cooking and storing food; as well as links to other educational sites.