“Farmers’ markets are more than just a building, a place to buy food. Places like this help keep beautiful, productive Virginia farms,” Elle Davis, the Virginia state director for rural development at the USDA, said in her speech at the Scottsville, Virginia Farmers Market in July of 2009.
The Scottsville Farmers Market, which can hold as many as 30 vendors, was an economic development project made possible by a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Town pitched in $10,000, according to an article in the The Daily Progress. Grants like these are wonderful for municipalities who don't have private folks able to champion such Markets. Arguably, most markets are set up through municipalities in order to take advantage of such rural economic development grants.
The Cooperative Farmers Market model is one where the vendors pull their financial resources in order to start an manage a market. These market structures can either lease from a municipality or private land owner, or can purchase a structure or land outright; and they work well when the members have the resources to do it.
The Mount Jackson Farmers Market is admittedly a "private venture". This is one thing that makes it a destination market rather than, say a municipal-market. Management and marketing expenses will be part of the package agreement for vendors. And the market is regulated under normal business laws.
There is not right or wrong, or good, better, best. However, a private market typically embodies the values of a truly "free market." Taxpayers' money is not used, and the success or failure is dependent on the private entity. In reality, the risk to a municipality is therefore greatly reduced, while the municipality still reaps the benefits of economic development and an increased tax base.
To date, the Mount Jackson Farmers Market has not asked for a dime of taxpayers' money. We may be forced to enter a public-private partnership at some point, but would prefer to keep out of taxpayers' pockets.
Though a private entity, the Mount Jackson Farmers Market is above all about the local community. We will employ local contractors, and offer the opportunity for local businesses and farmers to sell. We feel that if we can meet and exceed the demands of the local community for affordable-priced, local, and fresh food, then we will have succeeded.
It is for these reasons alone that we request your support.
Our KickStarter campaign is almost half over. We are 29% funded, with 19 days left to go. We'd love to be better than 50% funded by the end of the week. Plus, your pledge now will help to get more exposure on the KickStarter website. With the community's support, we will be able to start the 2012 Market Season off strong, and continue to give back to the community. Every pledge, even $1, counts.
Please visit our project site, if you haven't already, and show your support of a new business that will afford other small businesses the opportunity to get on sure footing and grow.
To those who have already shown your support, we really can't thank you enough, though we will try with not only our awesome rewards, but also by being a place where "everyone knows your name" and is committed to customer service.