FRANKFORT — The Lincoln County Farmers Market has been awarded $33,255 in grant money to install a permanent structure for its operations.
Farmers Market Treasurer Steven Hoeck said the plan is to use the state and local funds from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund to construct a building at First Southern Veterans Park in Stanford.
"We're excited," Hoeck said. "It brings a much better place for local farmers to be able to sell their produce."
The farmers market, which is open through Oct. 31 this year, currently sells by the roadside near the intersection of Somerset Street and U.S. 27.
Hoeck said the county land the market currently uses has been declared surplus and will be sold off. The goal is to get the new permanent structure built in time to use it when the market opens again next year, possibly sometime in June.
Christy Atkins, who began working with the farmers market for a student project more than five years ago, said the grant application she wrote for the farmers market building wound up being about 65 pages long.
"It was a pretty lengthy process," Atkins said. "We had to submit a budget and we had to collect letters of support from community agencies. It's pretty in-depth."
Atkins said while the plan is for the farmers market to have first right to use the building during its regularly scheduled market days, it will be available for use by veterans and others at the park during non-farmers-market hours. It could also potentially serve as an emergency distribution or rally point during an emergency.
"Other people are going to be able to get the benefit of using this as well," she said. "During the ice storm (in 2009), we really could have used a strategic distribution point."
Since it came into existence in 2005, the Lincoln County Farmers Market has grown from three vendors to 20 and added features like the ability to accept senior vouchers, WIC vouchers and credit and debit cards as payment.
Atkins said she has been a part of efforts to bring more diversity and minority vendors in to the market as well.
"We're very, very pleased with the mix of vendors that we've got now," she said. "The permanent structure was our next logical step."
SO YOU KNOW
The Lincoln County Farmers Market is open through Oct. 31 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until the vendors sell out, which is usually around noon or 1 p.m.
The market is located near the intersection of Somerset Street and U.S. 27 on the south side of Stanford.
For more information about becoming a vendor, call Steven Hoeck at (606) 355-2996.