STARTING EARLY: Preparing For The Spring Markets

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Kris Patrick, the main street coordinator in Chariton knows a well-run farmers market can bring attention to town square.

To make that happen she has to start from scratch.

"The people that ran it in the past have moved on. We're just starting over,” said Patrick.

Patrick said her town can support a thriving market but its problem is vendors.  When the previous managers moved on, they could only count on six of them showing up.

"Sometimes we'd have up to 70 vendors. The produce was gone when the people went through,” Patrick said.

So Patrick came to the Farmers Market Workshop in Des Moines.  Her goal was to find out how successful markets attract farmers, bakers, and people with green thumbs.

"The idea is to get information out to people so they can start a committee, get together, work with the community,  and see if they can get some partners and partnerships together,” said Donna Brahms with the Iowa Farmers Market Association.

Through collaborating with others, Patrick left with a few helpful pointers.

She will consider changing the day of her market and will try to keep vendors happy by not booking too many who sell the same product. Most importantly, she expanded her network.

"I’m now aware of a number of vendors who might be interested in coming to Chariton,” said Patrick.

Chariton may never attract as many customers or vendors as its larger neighbors, but Patrick is hopeful that it will become a spot that the people of Lucas County can depend on.

"We absolutely have higher aspirations,” said Patrick.