A group of local volunteers is working to create a true farmers’ market in downtown Bainbridge.
There have been various incarnations over the years: some mixing produce displays with other vendors, some officially supported by the City of Bainbridge and some that were not.
But this time, the Bainbridge Farmer’s Market is being organized by a committee of local citizens who enjoy growing fruit and vegetables on their properties.
On Tuesday, July 15, the Bainbridge City Council unanimously voted to approve a request from the farmers’ market committee to temporarily close a small stretch of West Street, between its intersections with Water and Broughton Streets, on the Saturdays they will operate the market.
The spot on West Street, in front of Studio 115 and Simply Southern, was chosen to be a shady spot underneath a large oak tree, said Mack Lane, who is on the farmers’ market committee. Lane said an effort has been made to contact the retailers along that block, who he said have responded well so far to the idea of bringing in more foot traffic to downtown Bainbridge.
The affected section of West Street will not block the flow of traffic through the intersections at Broughton and Water Streets, according to Amanda Glover, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
The current plan is for the farmers’ market to operate every Saturday morning, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., from October until December and from March until June. The first farmers’ market will be October 11.
Lane, who has a small-scale vegetable farming business in Decatur County, said he began organizing like-minded people around the idea of creating a new farmer’s market earlier this summer. A community meeting was held and about 20-30 people attended.
The core farmer’s market committee is Lane, Mills Brock, Randy and Carol Dupree, Meredyth Earnest, Jessica Allen, Rose Geiger, Natalie Kirbo, Cathy Stevens and Amanda Glover.
“We welcome anyone who’s interested in the farmer’s market concept or registering to be a produce or baked goods vendor to contact us through Facebook or Twitter.”
What is the value of locally-grown produce?
From the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association:
Georgia has a rich, proud history steeped in agriculture. Our climate allows us to produce high quality fruits and vegetables ranging from strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and apples, to tomatoes, watermelon, squash, bell pepper, and cabbage…and don’t forget Georgia Peaches, Vidalia Onions and Muscadine grapes! With our Christmas tree farms, pumpkins and collard greens there is something to experience almost all year round. So why go anywhere else for your fresh produce when you can stay right here and support our local economy?
Related: Why should I shop at a Farmer’s Market? (USDA)