The Pratt Farmer's Market has received a $3,000 grant and will use the money to add a live cooking show, new advertising posters and postcards and other activities.
Live cooking using locally grown food is one of the new additions to the Pratt Farmer's Market made possible through a $3,000 Meet Me at the Market stipend that is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Besides live cooking at the Farmer's Market, part of the grant money will be used to produce a Local Food segment at KMMM 1290 Radio in the morning agriculture report on a once-a-month basis. The broadcast will showcase speciality crop producers in the area, said Jessica Gnad, Farmer's Market director.
A portion of the grant money will be used for professionally printed promotional material, probably posters and post cards, for the farmer's market. Along with these activities, the Pratt Public Library is hosting a series of evening lectures over local food topics. The lectures are scheduled to in March and will be at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.
As the Farmer's Market heads into its second year, Gnad and the others run the operation, are looking for ways to sustain and build the reach and growth of the market. That is the main reason they applied for the grant.
In the beginning, the market depended on Facebook and the members grace to keep the market going. But these added funds will allow the scope of market to go to another level.
When the market asked KMMM about advertising, they were pleased to get an amazing ad package using part of the grant money. Then KMMM matched that amount and and agreed to help with the marketing. The Local Food segment will feature guest speakers, probably local producers, that will focus on their specific food crop.
The cooking demonstrations will feature food grown in the area and prepared by a live chef. Gnad said she would like to focus on speciality products.
All local food producers are encouraged to get involved with the farmer's market and not just the usual fruits and vegetables but herbs, nuts, dairy and other products.
Interest in the farmer's market continues to grow. Gnad said she has been getting a lot of enquiries and is working with them to develop the proper selling structure for their goods.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the farmer's market needs to fill out an application form. They will be available in March at the Pratt Public Library, The People's Bank and the Pratt County Extension Office. Some of the grant money will be used to create a website and the application form can be downloaded from the site. Check the farmer's market Facebook for updates on the website and other information.
Once they have the application, they need to present it to the farmer's market before they can sell their goods. Kansas also requires a food sales tax and vendors are responsible for getting a tax certificate. A farmer's market goal is to make it as easy as possible for vendors to get involved with the market.
The Farmer's Market will continue to focus on the second Saturday of each month as their prime selling days. Vendor's are urged to support the second Saturday initiative and any vendor is welcome to take part.
Live music will continue to be provided on second Saturdays. Interested musicians should contact Deb Goyen at The People's Bank at 672-5611.
Vendors can sell 26 weeks a year or as crops are available. There is some interest in developing a weekday market, perhaps for a couple of hours after work, for people to pickup fresh food.
The ultimate goal of the farmer's market is to promote the production of healthy foods and to produce healthy communities. They want to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
A successful farmer's market can not only be a health benefit but can also benefit tax revenues. The more vendors involved, the greater the variety to attract more customers. People looking for a place to live can see a farmer's market as another positive reason to settle in Pratt.
"I think by planting a farmer's market, we will see things bloom in other areas of the community," Gnad said.