Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2004

Eudorans sowing seeds for farmers’ market

October 14, 2004

David Alvarez isn't a big gardener, but he knows a lot of people in Eudora who are.

"They're usually running around trying to get rid of tomatoes and peppers," he said. "I see all these nice gardens, and we don't have anything to do with them."

At Monday's meeting, Eudora City Council member Scott Hopson shared Alvarez's and Tommy Pyle's idea to start a farmers' market several Saturdays a month in downtown Eudora next spring.

Alvarez said he saw it starting out on a small scale but offering items like locally grown produce and flowers as well as baked goods or other commodities people or groups in the community wanted to sell.

"It would be good for the community -- a place to run into people," Alvarez said.

Hopson asked the Council if the city would be willing to sponsor or support the idea. Council members and city staff discussed different aspects the city would have to look into, from insurance liabilities and whether USD 491 would be willing to let the market use the north parking lot at the community center, to the availability of portable toilets. City leaders also discussed seeing whether the Eudora Chamber of Commerce would be interested in participating.

City leaders also said they would look into the details of how Lawrence runs its farmers' market. For instance, City Attorney Jerry Cooley said the Lawrence market was overseen by a city-appointed committee that handled the event's insurance.

Alvarez said he anticipated having to charge a small fee for booth space, but he said the farmers' market wouldn't be a for-profit endeavor. In addition to covering the costs of putting on the events, Alvarez said he hoped fees could help buy advertising to publicize the market.

Hopson suggested to the Council that money generated minus any costs of insurance and portable toilets could go toward downtown revitalization.

Although Hopson said the market could offer pumpkins and cornstalks during the fall season, such a project wouldn't get off the ground until next spring's gardening season. However, Hopson and Alvarez said it was important to get the wheels moving now.

"You have to start things like that this year," Alvarez said.

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