At Wednesday evening’s annual meeting for the vendors of the Lawrence Farmers Market, vendors discussed ideas such as creating a Saturday winter market and working toward the creation of year-round food distribution systems.
Developing such plans are -- as they would be for any business -- a part of the long-term planning needed to reach new customers.
As a part of its planning process, the Lawrence Farmers Market achieved IRS designation as a 501c-3 non-profit organization this year. It was a difficult feat that has been years in the making. This status will open opportunities to apply for grants and ask for private support to expand opportunities to bring food to Douglas County and the surrounding area.
What kind of opportunities? One idea is to expand programs for low-income customers, such as the EBT program that accepts Vision cards (formerly known as food stamps). Opportunities also could include grander ideas, such as food hubs that help farmers distribute produce wholesale to schools, hospitals, restaurants and grocery stores. The community of Grand Rapids, Michigan – banking on food as its future – has invested in an enormous food hub and year-round market this year.
The Lawrence Farmers Market is your market. As we close out the 7-month regular season, please know that behind the scenes, the market's board of directors, volunteers and vendors are already planning for next year, and beyond, to improve the market for not only its customers, but also its place in the community.
We hope to see you for the final day of the regular season, Saturday, from 8-11 at 8th and New Hampshire, and again at the holiday market at the Holidome on Dec. 8 from 9-5.
A postscript, of sorts: If you visit the market’s Facebook page, you'll see some of our community thoughts on the season - favorite food finds as named by our customers, what customers and vendors miss during the off season, and even a few ham-handed attempts at market poetry!