What is The Rockmart Farmers Market Doing?

September 28, 2014

It is the mission of The Rockmart Farmers Market to improve the health of our community by increasing access to locally grown and produced foods; to increase knowledge of fresh food preparation and preservation; to increase the capacity of our local food system by providing support to local food producers; to preserve and promote the food and farming heritage of the Rockmart area.

We've all been to the sleepy farmers market where no one is in charge, with odd hours, and located in strange places that no one knows about.  What if a farmers market were to grow into something else?  What if a farmers market understood and took part in serving its lively community?  This is the vision that the Rockmart Farmers Market was founded on and the goal we are striving for.  

When dissected, our mission to improve the health of our community breaks down to three components: increasing the communities access to locally grown healthy food, increasing the community's knowledge about food prepartion and preservation, and finally, to help increase the capacity of our local farming system.  

We accomplish the first part of our mission by ensuring we have a successful market.  We provide the platform for local farmers and producers to connect with their community.  We also ensure that our vendors are truly growing or producing what they bring to market.  This allows shoppers to feel confident that they are supporting the local economy.  Finally, we also receive a grant from Wholesome Wave, Georgia to double SNAP dollars spent at our farmers market.  This assures access to locally produced healthy food for everyone in our community!

This year we had several cooking demonstrations to help accomplish the second part of our mission.  Squash 101, our most popular demonstration, is pictured below.  Our guests learned about several varieties of squash and great ways to prepare them.  We also had the Executive Chef from La Scala in Rome demonstrate several recipes as well.  We are growing this aspect of our work next year to include even more demonstrations including information on preserving and fermenting.
 

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The final part of our mission, to increase the capacity of our local farming system is a little more tricky to accomplish.  This year we have focused on supporting our farmers and in the future hope to expand to include connecting different generations of farmers with each other to help the transfer of information between generations.  We also are planning on cultivating  knowledge about growing and producing new foods that our community doesn't currently have access to.

There is a benefit that a farmers market provides to the community that is not part of our mission but should be noted as well.  We become a gathering place, a place for community to grow and strengthen.  The market is a great place to meet your neighbors and rediscover how a community market can bring everyone together. 

Lots of exciting things are happening at the Rockmart Farmers Market and it is only with community support that we can accomplish our mission.  Shopping for your groceries at the market each week helps our farmers continue growing healthy foods and helps you be a healthier you and part of a healthier community.  Supporting events from cooking demonstrations to fundraising BBQ's helps our market grow and helps the communities knowledge grow.  Thanks for helping us Grow our Community One Seed at a Time!

Shonna Kirkpatrick