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Farmers to get new marketplace

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By Molly Haines

The Owen County Farm Bureau recently received a $82,419 grant to construct a permanent facility for the Owen County Farmers’ Market.

According to a recent press release from the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, the goal of the project is to increase farmers’ participation in the market, as well as provide better access for consumers.

The farmers’ market, which began in 2003, has been located on the Owen Country Courthouse lawn for six of its seven years.

The market will eventually be relocated behind the Owen County Farm Bureau at 430 Roland Ave.

A pavilion is expected to be built so the market can operate during rainy conditions.

Owen County Farm Bureau President David Chappell said he believes the new location will greatly benefit the market.

“I am very excited about this opportunity for the local farmers and the benefit that it will have on the community,” Chappell said. “There will be longer hours and more opportunity to purchase and sell products.”

According to the release, Gov. Steve Beshear said a permanent location for the farmers’ market could help make Owen County a better agricultural community.

“I am committed to creating opportunities that will make Kentucky’s agricultural community stronger,” Beshear said. “Projects such as this one funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board play an integral role in achieving this goal.”

Chappell said the market’s new location will indicate the partnership between Farm Bureau and local farmers.

“The Owen County Farm Bureau has partnered with local farmers since 1933, and we have always had the association with farmers, and this is just another opportunity that we can show our support to the community and the local farmers,” Chappell said. “I myself farm vegetables, corn and strawberries, so I see a real benefit to having it behind the Kentucky Farm Bureau, and the location on 127 couldn’t be better, not to mention great parking.”

Sen. Damon Thayer said a permanent location for the market will bring continued success.

“The Owen County Farmers’ Market is a vibrant resource for area farmers and plays an important role in the economy,” Thayer said. “This grant recognizes the need for permanent space and will insure the Market’s success for years to come.”

Rep. Royce Adams agreed that the new location will serve customers well.

“For the past several years, Owen County has had a weekly farmers’ market at the courthouse, which has been very successful,” Adams said. “Numerous Owen County farmers have transitioned to fruits and vegetables — so this permanent home will help them better serve their customers.”

The 2010 farmers’ market will continue through October. It starts at 10 a.m. most Fridays on the courthouse lawn.