CEDA Staff Successfully Authors Grants for Farmers Market Funding

Article by: Mary Kennedy and Donna Mack

On Wednesday, June 19th the new Farmers Market in Goodhue, Minnesota held its opening day! CEDA representative Donna Mack played an influential part in the planning process, and worked to secure funding for the project. The community’s interest for a Farmers Market became apparent during Mack’s regular business outreach practices, and both Mack and city staff received requests for a market from community residents. After City Council’s approval to move ahead with the project, City staff, Donna Mack, and Selene O’Reilly, a local Master Gardener with the University of Minnesota Extension, began researching funding options and planning for the market itself. This process included discussing potential market operators, vendors, funding, location, etc. Through her research, Mack found potential funding options to pursue, and the team learned about a networking and learning opportunity; the two-day 2019 MN Farmers Market Association Conference in January 2019, which Mack was able to attend. At the conference, she was able to participate in 12 workshops in two days, with the purpose to receive training to establish a Farmers Market in Goodhue and to network with the Farmers Market Association, Minnesota Grown, and other established rural community market operators. For the conference expenses, Mack was awarded a grant from Live Well Goodhue County for $600 reimbursement of the trip. Mack authored a second grant to Live Well Goodhue County for start-up expenses for establishing a Farmers Market in the community, and was awarded $2,500. The third grant Mack authored was to Compeer Financial’s Farmers Market Grant Program, and the project was awarded $975.

In considering other ways to finance the project, The City of Goodhue started a fund with $700 to meet minor expenses before the grants were awarded. Also, the City paid membership to MN Farmers Market Association and Minnesota Grown, and the organization’s farmers market insurance, as well as the Farmers Market Operator’s wage. Additionally, Selene O’Reilly has volunteered 25 hours of her time already this summer towards her certificate with the U of MN, through Master Gardeners.

“Our Opening Day was successful with two vendors sold out, and another vendor only had 1 item left. The Goodhue Farmers Market can only become more successful when produce becomes ready to harvest. Our Farmers Market Operator and her market committee have been strong in marketing, organizational skills and work ethic. And we appreciate the funding from Live Well Goodhue County, Compeer Financial, and the City of Goodhue, With funding from these entities the Goodhue Farmers Market became a reality. I could not be more proud of this team and the community support,” said Mack about the project.

The Farmers Market is every Wednesday from 3pm to 7 pm through the end of September, except for July 3rd. In October, the market will be every Wednesday from 4pm to 7 pm. Located at the former train depot at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Broadway Street in the City of Goodhue.