Farmers markets are growing not only locally, but in region
Farmers markets are certainly nothing new. However, they have changed through the years and now the benefits of these events reach far beyond the farmer’s pocketbook.
While it is still common for a group of farmers, or at least an agriculture related group to organize the local farmers market, others are increasingly interested in the development, and success of these events. While the goals of the non-farmers are different than that of the farmer, these goals are usually very complimentary.
Included in the group of non-farmers interested in the modern day farmers market is the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Committee and yes, the consumer. For an increasing number of health and quality conscious consumers, the farmers market is becoming the source of choice for fruits, vegetables and even meats. In a growing number of situations the farmers market is being developed into a weekly mini-festival that provides benefits to individual farmers and consumers but also downtown business owners and the community as a whole.
Where farmers markets were once given access to out of the way parking lots behind City Hall, many times to keep them out of the way of "progress," the events are now more commonly held on Main Street or even on the Court House lawn. The more prominent positioning has helped to bring attention back to many downtown areas and the increased traffic drawn by fresh produce has also increased sales for many downtown businesses. These benefits have gained the attention of Chambers of Commerce, local Main Street Committees and other similar organizations that have become more and more active in promoting the development and growth of these events to maximize the complimentary benefits that often result. There is here an opportunity for communities to work together to develop the market into viable community and economic development opportunities. This information comes from University of Illinois Extension.
The Austin Area Farmers Market is proud to be a Chamber member and work in partnership with the Downtown Association to bring the community members of Austin a fun, social gathering that promotes healthy food, healthy families and a healthy, thriving community. So grab your re-usable shopping bag and take a stroll through your local farmers market this week! Support your local community!
The Austin Area Farmers Market is open 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.Thursdays downtown; 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays at Oak Park Mall; and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays at Oak Park Mall. We accept all major credit cards and EBT. EBT users, don’t forget the Blue Cross and Blue Shield double your bucks program: For the first $5 you spend, you will receive $5 in matching bucks.