Farmers' Market brings local products, fun to the community

Morgan County Farmers Market
Scenes from the Morgan County Farmers' Market during the first Martinsville market of the 2016 season (left),
2016 Earth Day Celebrations in Jimmy Nash Park (center), and the Mooresville market in 2014 (right).
Photo & Layout Credit: Danie M. Becknell

Before the the farmers' market officially formed in 2009, a “loose association of vendors” gathered and sold their produce and goods on Saturday mornings on the Morgan County Courthouse Square.

“Our principal goal is to bring attention to local food and it's importance in the local economy,” said Bob Elliott, president of the Morgan County Farmers' Market Association (MCFMA) board. “People don't realize that 90% of the food they eat in Indiana is trucked in from across the country, and unfortunately, as an agricultural state, that's not good.”

Local food is fresher, and that means they have more nutrients, Elliott said. Local, fresh food tastes better, and is better for you. Elliott added the prices might seem higher than those at a grocery store, but the product is of much better quality.

The Morgan County Farmers Market during the summer of 2015. Photo credit: Emily Metheny

More Than a Market 

The Morgan County Farmers' Market Association manages two markets from the first week of May through the first week of September. Markets are held weekly in Martinsville and Mooresville. The Martinsville market is open Saturday mornings from 9-1pm on the Morgan County Courthouse Square downtown. The Mooresville market is open Tuesday evenings from 3-6pm in the Friends Church parking lot on the corner of Monroe and Main Streets.
Archery demonstration by The Barn Archery during the first
market of the season in Martinsville on May 7, 2016.
Photo credit: Danie M. Becknell

“This year we are trying to have entertainment at every Saturday market,” said Chris Daugherty, MCFMA Vice President. “We are also inviting a lot of local artists to come and have open air painting and drawing on the lawn.”

For the first market this year, there were six vendors, three non-profits selling a variety of plants and products, as well as special guests, The Barn Archery. Early in the season there are more value added products, such as breads, soaps and sausage, but as the season progresses more fruits, vegetables and other produce will become available.

“In the future, say, the next five years, we would like to develop a CSA. That's community supported agriculture,” Elliott said.  “CSA is where folks buy shares for the season and each week they get a box of goodies depending on what's coming out.”

Eventually, the market would like to set up a store that could operate year round and provide the community with fresh, local products throughout the year.

Right now, the market supports the WIC program, matching vouchers dollar-for-dollar, so people can buy healthier food for their families. In the next few years, Elliott said the market would like to set up EBT availability so people can use their SNAP cards ("food stamps") to buy fresh products at the market.

“One of the things we have really achieved [from] our founding purposes [...] is to develop and foster a community gathering place,” Elliott said. “You noticed that [the market] has developed nicely over the last [seven] years.”

People don't just come to the market to shop, Elliott said. They come to see friends that they may not have seen otherwise, running into people that they haven't seen in months or even years.

Local non-profits have the opportunity to participate in the market and hand out information, Elliott said. “The food [and produce] is like icing on the cake,we are becoming a community resource.”

Daugherty seconded this, saying that his favorite part of the market is talking to everybody. Elliott added, “it's fun to come here.”

Working Together: The Farmers' Market & The CFMC

Visit the Morgan County Farmers' Market Association
on Facebook to stay up to date during the season.
In the seven years since the Morgan County Farmers' Market began, there has been tremendous growth. As a fund under the Community Foundation of Morgan County the group has received resources that have supported the growth that is seen today. Eventually, Elliott said the market would grow to a point where they would apply for their own tax-exempt status as a non-profit, but it is not time just yet.

“[This relationship] has allowed us a little bit of freedom to not have to worry about a bank account at this point,” Elliott said.  “In the next couple of years, we will start looking at filing for our own 501(c)3 non-profit status, but the coverage (from the foundation) has given us a leg up in getting developed.”

You can visit the markets to support local farmers, producers, non-profit organizations, artists, and more. To learn more about the organization and make a donation, you can visit the MCFMA's page on the CFMC website

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