(Posted March 28, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Downtown London Association (DLA) is working to bring a farmers market to downtown London.
On March 26, the Madison County commissioners gave the group permission to set up on the sidewalks on the east and south sides of the courthouse. Organizers are planning two trial dates this year, one in July and one in August.
They hope to go full bore in 2019, hosting the market every Wednesday from 4:30 to about 7:30 p.m. during the growing season. Additional features could include food trucks and monthly participation from social service and non-profit organizations. Research is under way to determine if vendors could accept not only cash, but also government-subsidized food payments, such as WIC, EBT, and Senior SNAP.
DLA is taking this year to gather ideas from other markets, recruit farmers, develop rules and regulations, and test the waters. Representatives from the Procter Camp and Conference Center, a DLA member organization, are lending their expertise.
“They have experience in doing this,” said Wendy Starr, DLA president.
The Procter Center, located south of London, maintains livestock for meat consumption and a six-acre vegetable farm. The produce is used in the center’s dining hall and sold at the North Market in Columbus and through community supported agriculture (CSA) shares.
“We really want to reach out and serve the community,” said Amy Boyd, Procter executive director, about why the center brought the farmers market idea to DLA.
A downtown market could serve many purposes, Boyd said, such as:
– creating a sense of community in the historic district of downtown London;
– bringing the community together in support of regional agriculture;
– driving traffic downtown; and
– providing fresh local food to people who might not otherwise have access to it.
“I’m really supportive of it. I think it’s a great idea,” said Commissioner David Hunter.
Commissioner David Dhume suggested DLA reach out to Madison County Family Council for the social services component.
Starr said DLA will announce the 2018 trial dates soon.