Farmers Market

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

FARMVILLE — Town council planted the seeds of its farmers market committee this month.

“I think we need to get council together to come up with a list of members,” town manager Gerald Spates told council during its January monthly meeting.

“And we do want to leave the door open for the existing farmers market group,” Spate stressed.

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“We want them to be part of the market,” he said. “Nobody’s trying to keep anybody out. We do want to make it a good farmers market.”

Spates was not the only town official to speak encouraging open door words.

“We do want input from the farmers market people,” said Sally Thompson, who was appointed to chair the farmers market committee. “…It’s going to be a work together—it’s a new day—a work together group.”

“We are expecting your input,” she told several farmers market vendors attending the town council meeting, “as well as input from other people.”

Council member David E. Whitus made the motion to create the farmers market committee with Thompson as its chair.

The committee will present a list of names for town council to appoint.

The motion passed unanimously.

Effective January 1, the Farmville Area Farmers Market Association became the Heart of Virginia Farmers Market Association and separated itself from the Town of Farmville’s farm market facility.

The association has moved its market location to Rice, with Saturday hours at The Farmers’ Daughters, located on US 460. Wednesday hours are being curtailed until March.

The changes were spurred by the Town’s decision to take over operating the farmers market facility it built on North Street effective January 1.

The Town of Farmville spent $733,795 to acquire the property and construct the facility, with another $102,000 contributed to the project from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

Town council voted in October to take over operation of the facility—not the association—in order to pursue the stated goal of expanding its use. The Town’s recreation department is responsible for coordinating use of the facility.

“As a result of the recent decision by the Town of Farmville to ‘take over’ the farm market facility…the vendors of the Farmville Area Farmers Market Association have made the decision that as an Association, we will no longer participate in the Town’s farmers market facility,” the Heart of Virginia Farmers Market Association explained in a December press release.

Spates told The Herald at the time that, “our whole point in changing the farmers market was to try to make it more open to more people. Some people felt they were left out unless they were a member of the association. All we’re trying to do is make it better.”

The Town’s approach, according to the town manager, will be wholly inclusive.

“We want to get as many people involved in it as we can. The whole point was we had an outside group that was controlling what they did with our property and we need to have some input, and that’s all we asked for,” he said.

The town council farmers market committee is meant to follow through on that intention.