- Published on Thursday, 08 November 2012 13:23
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Editor’s Note: A positive group of speakers took time Sunday to appear at the public hearing held by the Board of The King George Farmers’ Market. The issue was the future of the market and the mix of vendors able to provide products to shoppers. The Board will take a final vote on the issue during its meeting at 6 p.m. at the KG Extension office on Tuesday, November 13. The following is the statement of Dahlgren Supervisor Ruby Brabo who spoke at the hearing Sunday.
“The Farmers Market has the potential to become one of the best assets of King George County. The transition of blending people and organizations always presents challenges, but I would encourage you to consider a larger vision for the growth of this Market. Regionalism allows for greater efficiency, an ability to draw on each other’s strengths and increased capacity. In today’s time, it is almost inevitable that one show regional inclusion when applying for grants. What will the King George Market lose by excluding other vendors: What goods and products will be missing from the market with exclusivity? Where do you want the market to be in five years? You will be limiting the growth of the market by limiting what is offered. Somewhere else in the region, another market will simply grow and prosper and take away what could have been done by us here in King George. Your market will die if people lose interest. And demand for such products - both by tourists and residents is growing.
“What do you hope to accomplish with exclusivity? Are there real issues that truly cannot be resolved due to including outside vendors? If you return to a King George vendors only market, are you able to provide enough products to the customers who arrive late? Are you not concerned about customer service and having product readily available for the customer for the duration of shopping hours?
“Our growing Farmers Market is a tourism asset to our local economy. Farmers markets are weekly events, and everyone know how important events are to rural tourism. Without much extra work, you can support your local growers, give your locals a great shopping and socializing experience and bring visitors to town in droves to hobnob with friendly residents and support your local economy. In the past year, the number of shoppers at the market has doubled. By drawing residents from outside our county, this also increases the foot traffic to other local businesses.
“You state you are limited to 22 spaces and yet there have been many a Saturday when those spaces are not full. You mentioned considering the acreage of the farm and use of migrant workers as criteria for consideration, but I would suggest you look to the commitment and participation of the past.
As a Supervisor I have heard so many positive comments regarding the market and how pleased folks have been by the variety and amount of product available. I encourage you to remain open to outside vendors to better define your vision for growth, and to use resources such as myself and the County Economic Development Director to assist you.”