MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has selected 12 farmers’ markets as recipients of the Meet Me at the Market stipend program. This program, a part of the Farmers’ Market Consumer Recruitment Campaign Grant, is made possible by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant which makes funds available to state departments of agriculture solely to enhance competitiveness of specialty crops. According to the USDA, specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” This stipend will provide market managers and vendors with resources to increase awareness of specialty crops available at their market, including funds for promotional events and marketing programs.
The markets which were selected for the program are:
Abilene Farmers’ Market, Abilene
Allen County Farmers’ Market, Iola and Humboldt
Atchison Farmers’ Market, Atchison
Main Street Farmers’ Market, Chanute
Cottin’s Hardware Farmers’ Market, Lawrence
Emporia Farmers’ Market, Emporia
Harvey County Farmers’ Market, Newton
Old Town Farmers’ Market, Wichita
Pittsburg Area Farmers’ Market, Pittsburg
Pomona Farmers’ Market, Pomona
Pratt Farmers’ Market, Pratt
Reno County Producers’ Market, Hutchinson
Farmers’ markets are a primary point of sale for specialty crops in Kansas. Market managers have identified promoting their market to be a project for growth, but do not have the funds to do so. These funds will allow the farmers’ markets to reach the public in new ways and increase engagement. In addition, they will receive educational materials, marketing templates and tutorials, and promotional events hosted by KDA.
“Our goal is that these resources and marketing stipends will allow these markets to expand, promote, and increase their sales of specialty crop items, and ultimately connecting consumers with local producers. These markets are ready to take their market to the next level and increase engagement in their communities and we are excited to help them do so,” said Lexi Wright, From the Land of Kansas coordinator.
Farmers’ markets play an important role in providing access to healthy food choices in low income and rural areas, as well as enhancing the local economy. There are currently 86 registered farmers’ markets in Kansas.
KDA, which serves as the state’s regional farmers’ market authority, promotes and supports farmers’ markets through its monthly e-newsletter, Kansas Farmers’ Market Network, at regional farmers’ market workshops, and through the state’s agricultural trademark program, From the Land of Kansas. This supports KDA’s commitment to providing an environment that encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and serving Kansas farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the consumers they serve.
For more information about farmers’ markets in Kansas or the Farmers’ Market Consumer Recruitment Campaign Grant, please contact Wright at 785-564-6755 or Lexi.Wright@ks.gov.