Expansion a positive for county
Farmers Markets started out as ways for people to grow a variety of produce — mainly in their back yards — to sell to neighbors.
Now, Rutherford County has the opportunity to turn that simple philosophy into a business model.
On Monday, the Rutherford County Commission approved a budget amendment to spend just over $15,000 to expand the county’s farmers market and extend a water line to the current facility along U.S. 74-A.
The plan is very simple in its broad strokes.
The market will remain at the location near Isothermal Community College and increase its days of operation to include Saturday.
In addition, the Farmers Market will also take on an Internet initiative that was originated by Foothills Connect where the market will offer consumer commodity boxes available for purchase online and pick up at the market or, potentially delivered.
Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said that it was taking the Foothills Connect model and implementing it in “baby steps.”
The popularity of the farmers market exploded during the last season, primarily due to the move from the Rutherford County Fairgrounds to U.S. 74-A.
Now, in our opinion, is a great time to look at limited, sustainable growth for the farmers market.
There was concern over the use of the county-owned property near ICC and what the future had in store for the market at that location.
We know the county is looking to sell that property in hopes of bolstering economic development, but let’s not look past the potential development that can be said about having a thriving farmers market at that location.
We aren’t necessarily advocating using the location on U.S. 74-Alternate as a permanent solution, but its potential for growth and support of the local economy should tell commissioners that there is no rush in trying to find another location.
We applaud the work of Bradley, market manager Ricky Horne and the staff at the Rutherford County Cooperative Extension in looking at scaled expansion of the market.
We also single out the Rutherford County Commission for approving the expenditure to do this scaled expansion.
This move can do nothing but help the growers, sellers and buyers that utilize our farmers market and we hope for continued — and growing — success as we approach the next season.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.