One of our primary goals for this upcoming year at the Hindman Settlement School is to assist the implementation of a local Farmer’s Market here in Knott County. Since we are so invested in creating a successful market, we decided to do some hands-on research. Last month, myself and several others who are working toward localized food systems in Eastern Kentucky participated in a Local Food Initiative Tour. We visited multiple markets in different states to see how others have set up their organizations.
We not only toured the markets and sampled their wares, but we sat down with the organizers at each site and asked them about their business model and considered ways that we could replicate their successes while taking their advice on what doesn’t work. We saw markets varying in size from a dozen or so vendors to one which had 6 buildings the size of airplane hangars in which farmers from all over came to sell their produce in what was essentially a supermarket of local foods.
While I doubt that our start-up market will have such overwhelming participation and widely varied produce, we are confident that what we learned from this local foods tour will help us successfully initiate and sustain a market in Knott County. We have spoken with several Grow Appalachia participants who are just as excited as we are to get their veggies out to the community in exchange for a little spending money!