Help Us Keep the Winter Market in the Downtown Area!
Being a farmer, I feel like I am always one season ahead. When its the dead of winter I find myself completely engrossed in planning for spring and right now, even though many of the leaves are still on the trees I am planning plowing routes from barn to barn and looking at how to access my water supply with 3 feet of snow.
With that in mind, this spring several of us farmers began talking about a location where we felt like the Mill Park Winter Farmers’ market could be the most effective this winter (and hopefully more to come) and we really felt like the best move that we could make was to stay as close to our summer location as we possibly could. So the process began, we talked to other businesses, we talked to the city, we looked at storefronts on Water Street and then we had the opportunity to set foot in the Old Church at 70 State Street, right next to the Lithgow library. We didn’t walk in and feel like kids in a candy store, it was more of a subtle progression from the feeling that this could possibly work to talking about where our sign would go. We felt like we had found a home. Since it was only a small group of us we went back to the rest of the Mill Park vendors and took a vote and then the planning began.
A few weeks into the process we received a notification from the City of Augusta that due to zoning restrictions we would not be able to relocate the winter market to the Old Church at 70 State Street. Suddenly we were scrambling trying to figure out our next step. Once we had received the news about the zoning restrictions I spoke with the building owner, Richard Pankhurst, and he asked me if we really wanted to have the market in the Old Church and if we did then he would support us and do everything in his power to help make it happen.
So, here we are now, we have taken this matter to the Augusta City Council and received unanimous support and we have heard wonderful feedback from residents of the West Side neighborhood and now its time to get this done. The planning and zoning department has been asked to craft a “contract zone” to allow for us to host the farmers’ market at 70 State Street this winter, and even though this isn’t necessarily the long-term solution that we want it is a first step. It gets our foot in the door and keeps us in the community that has supported us so wonderfully for all of these years. The planning and zoning meeting is Tuesday, October 24th at 7 pm at City Hall if support the market and can find the time we hope to see as many of our friends as possible. Please join us and let the city know that you support local businesses and agriculture.
So a big thank you to all of you who support the Mill Park Farmers’ Market! We are where we are because of the support of our community.
See you next and every Tuesday at the market.
Kelby Young, Olde Haven Farm