GFMA Member Market Feature | Milledgeville Farmers Market
As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Milledgeville Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Amy Davis gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Amy. How long have you been a market manager? What's your connection to AG? Milledgeville Main Street/ Downtown Development Authority has been managing the Milledgeville Farmers Market since its creation in 2009. Through the years, the Market has developed partnerships with the City of Milledgeville, Georgia College & State University Art Department, Milledgeville Police Department, Explorers Post volunteers, the local Chamber of Commerce and another local Markets in town, to name a few.
2. What makes your market unique? Our farmers market is one part of the Milledgeville Main Street/ Downtown Development Authority’s ongoing programming and mission to create sustainable, expanding success for the entire Milledgeville community by inspiring public and private investment in the revitalization, preservation, and promotion of the downtown business district. Instead of the Milledgeville Farmers Market being a stand-alone concept, it is an element in the overall vision for downtown Milledgeville to be a vibrant and attractive destination for business, education, and community activity where people appreciate and are connected to the community’s rich history.
3. Give me an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find? The Milledgeville Farmers Market is held every Tuesday from 2-6pm, May through October, and is a traditional farmers market. There is a wide variety of items from which to choose including fresh produce, locally sourced honey, fresh baked bread, jams, pickles, handmade crafts, and more. While the advertised hours of operation are 2-6pm, preparation begins at 8am and involves getting the market open and set up and placing “Farmers Market Today” signage throughout downtown Milledgeville. Farmers market posters stay visible in downtown businesses throughout the market season and social media coverage, for market day reminders and vendor product highlights, is an important part of engaging farmers market patrons. Market vendors have flexibility of arrival time before 2 pm and most are ready to do business before 12 pm. By allowing earlier set-up, we support the success of our local farmers and enable them to capture patrons for whom later shopping may not be convenient.
4. What's the one idea you try to convey to people who've never shopped at a farmer's market? Shopping at a local farmers market is more than an opportunity to shop local for delicious, fresh and healthy food. It is a way individuals can support local farmers, local community members, and be directly connected to the people and place from which their purchase comes.
5. Why do you think local markets are important? Farmers markets create an experience, unique to each individual, of belonging and connectedness to the community as a whole. Opportunity is created to encourage healthy food as part of a healthy lifestyle by fostering a satisfaction of the farmers market experience of which food is a part. Larger than one community or city, every person world-wide can probably recall an indelible connection to fresh, local food whether it was harvesting fresh produce off a plant, snapping beans alongside their mother or grandmother, time spent in the kitchen learning to cook, or a perfect, unforgettable meal. People gain valuable sense of place through personal interactions and farmers markets are hubs where community members gather, catch up, share ideas, and connect as an integral part of their community.
6. How is GFMA assisting you and your market in connecting people to food? The GFMA is readily accessible to us for guidance and has provided us with tools and resources with which we can expand the awareness of the Milledgeville Farmers Market to the local community members and state-wide audiences through social media, farmers market information publications, and marketing campaigns such as Georgia Grown. Through the GFMA, our farmers market also has the benefit of access to the national resources through the Farmers Market Coalition.
7. Is there anything I haven't asked that you'd like to mention? In 2010, the City of Milledgeville received a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) from the USDA that assisted with funding to build The Pavilion that houses the Milledgeville Farmers Market and is also available for use by community members.
To learn more about the Millegeville Farmers Market, visit this website.