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Putnam Farmers Market sees finances dwindle

By Candace Nelson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Citing a lack of funding, the Putnam County Farmers Market is cutting some of its programs.

With the upcoming Kids Day event on Saturday, Putnam Farmers Market President Katie Campbell, 27, of Buffalo, said she wanted to include items like inflatables for the children, but limited funding just doesn't make it possible.

"It was about $500 for the inflatables, and if we spent that, we just wouldn't have had money for our other operating costs," she said.

Campbell said as a nonprofit, the farmers market has trouble getting funding.

The main source of income is a $25 membership and $5 vendor fee. Beyond that, the farmers market has only had a few small grants recently, and those are quickly dwindling.

"We've spent money in the past to get stuff like that for Kids Day, but this year, I tried to get new signs and brochures. We had to get the EBT debit card machine, and there's always operating costs," Campbell said.

"We just couldn't come up with it. It's hard. The funds are dwindling down, and we don't replenish it."

Campbell said the farmers market has set up an advisory board and hopes to find someone willing to write grant applications.

"We don't get grants, which is a big way other farmers markets are able to pay their market managers and things like that," she said.

Chrissy Foster, 38, of Fraziers Bottom, is the vice president of the farmers market. She said the group's background doesn't lend itself to fundraising.

"It was a group of vendors that came together, and we based our whole operating system on one other market that we knew about," Foster said.

"We took the rules and bylaws from them and adapted them over the years. We haven't had anyone who has grant experience, so we have been trying to learn as we go."

Despite having some financial difficulty, Campbell said customers are still supportive.

"On average, we get about 300 people. We'll have people lined up. We have some good, dedicated customers who come there every day, every year. When you come to our market, you get to meet the people who make it. They all live within 50 miles. They're your neighbors. You can meet the people, talk about growing stuff and get advice on how to grow."

Kids Day will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, with activities beginning at 11 a.m. The theme is "Get Outdoors, Eat Health and Have Fun."

West Virginia State University Extension Service will be holding a book reading and a cooking demonstration.

A registered dietician will be handing out healthy camping recipes for parents and doing a hand-washing interaction. A sack race, cakewalk, and water balloon toss will also be available.

The market is open 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through September. October hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The farmers' market is located in Hurricane City Park.

For more information, visit http://putnamfarmersmarket.weebly.com.

Contact writer Candace Nelson at Candace.Nelson@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/Candace07.

 


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