Late last fall the Mayor’s Steering Committee for Community Development formed a sub-committee to study the idea of creating a local farmers market in Cairo where locally grown produce, herbs, flowers and crafts could be sold in a fun, family-like environment. According to Committee Chairperson Steve Stebbing what they learned was cause for excitement and determination to offer fresh produce in a warm and inviting atmosphere. “Our committee has met almost every two weeks since the beginning of the year studying and learning the importance of locally grown food. We have spoken with a number of experienced individuals, researched online publications, sent emails, read books, etcetera on the importance of fresh, locally grown food,” stated Stebbing. “For example, we learned that most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, handled multiple times by different people and is shipped an average of 1500 miles before the final point of sale. We feel we can do better by our fellow friends and neighbors by creating our own distribution venue where the locally grown food is picked usually the day before it is sold.”
The committee has also taken time to understand the logistics of operating a farmers market by studying and interviewing individuals from other markets around the Midwest including Kansas City, Omaha, Lincoln, Columbus and Lexington just to name a few. Additionally they have created a Vendors Agreement that describes general rules and regulations, dates and times the market will be open and goods allowed for sale. “It has been a very rewarding education for all committee members as we have moved forward through the process of creating this open-air market. Our excitement has continued to grow,” according to Kim Hostetler, committee member. “This is our maiden voyage and we will work hard to improve the summer long event every year.”
If you are interested in becoming a vendor at The Local Farmers Market you can find more information at the Villageof Cairowebsite at www.cairocommunity.com, or call Lana Maret at Pathway Bank at 308-485-4232.