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Economic Development Fund Grant Awarded to Farmers Market

Visitors browse the Johnson County Farmers Market at Ralph Stout Park. The Market is celebrating 10 years of serving residents and visitors bringing economic growth to Mountain City. Photo submitted by Jana Jones.

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

The Economic Development Fund (EDF) of East Tennessee was established at the East Tennessee Foundation in 1991 to support charitable and economic programs aimed at fostering regional economic development. The EDF is open to 25 counties in East Tennessee.

The Johnson County Farmers Market was one of three recipients of the awards for September 2018 through August 2020. The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) is celebrating its 10th year this season. Since 2015 the average customer attendance has increased over 100 percent from 100 customers in a three-hour window to 230. Gross sales have also increased by over 150 percent since 2015.

With the additional funds provided by the EDF, the JCFM will be able to continue to expand their impact to improve economic growth in Johnson County. The funds will be used for improving their website and expanding marketing and by attracting more customers, more quality vendors become involved, which in turn sustains customer loyalty.

Providing additional income to more vendors and attracting more people to our county to spend their dollars at other businesses are two of the ways the JCFM proposes to impact economic development in the county. The JCFM has added a Mid-Week Market as well as the Winter Market to be able to offer fresh produce all year long.

The Mid-Week Market is held on Tuesdays from 3:30 until 6:30 at Ralph Stout Park while the harvest is abundant, which enables customers getting off work to have access to farm-fresh products before heading home.

The 2018-2019, winter season will be the second that the JCFM has offered an indoor market in the basement of the Welcome Center starting the first Saturday in November and running through April.

The goal of the JCFM is to offer quality products and maintain a great reputation in the community. Openings for additional vendors for the Saturday, Tuesday, and winter markets are now available.

For more information about applying or upcoming activities at the market, go to www.JohnsonCountyFM.org.