Farmers market looking to grow in Iosco County

Recent agreement with Tawas City offers opportunity for growth for the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market.

Many communities host a farmers market in which local growers have an opportunity to sell their products on a small scale to consumers looking for fresh, local and affordable products, while supporting their own local community food system.

In some communities, a farmers market serves as much more than just a market, it serves as a cultural hub for the community. According to the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MiFMA) website, In the last ten years, the number of farmers markets in Michigan has grown from around 90 in 2001 to more than 300 today.”

In the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, there are several successful Farmers Markets in many of the communities throughout the region. One of them is known as the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market, which holds public markets weekly from May through October. This market in recent years has set up in the Oscoda community on Wednesdays and the East Tawas community on Saturdays. These markets are very well-attended.

Recently, the City of Tawas City has offered the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market an opportunity to move back to Tawas City, where the market once called home prior to moving to the East Tawas area. The offer for the city to seek grant funding to erect a permanent structure to be used for the farmers market was an offer too good to pass up. The Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market will be moving to Gateway Park at the mouth to the Tawas River and located along US-23, in Tawas City beginning in Spring 2014. Market research conducted by Michigan State University Extension staff in 2002 indicated the importance of US-23 visibility. Gateway Park was the number one location at that time.

According to an article in the Iosco County News-Herald, grant approval and funding for the structure will be coming soon, but city officials are confident that the project will be approved. A structure such as this will provide the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market with a level of certainty and permanency of location that has not been the case since the market was established in the Tawas Area.

Michigan State University Extension has educators working across the state to help communities work on local purchasing and support for their local Community Food System. Visit the find an expert page, and search by topic to locate the educator for your area or contact your local MSU Extension office.

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