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Independence Day market, fundraiser a huge success

Connie Leichner and her daughter Jinifer, visit local artists Lewis and Jeana Chapman’s Doggy “Do” Arts to the Rescue presentation that was offering a variety of paintings for a donation as part of a fundraiser supporting SNAP, Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary, and the Johnson County Center for the Arts. Thanks to its great success the fundraiser held last Saturday at the Johnson County Farmers Market is hoped to become an annual event.   Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Johnson County Farmers Market centered on fundraising efforts during the Saturday, July 4 market. Juried artists Lewis and Jeana Chapman’s Doggy “Do” Arts to the Rescue fundraiser drew dog lovers to participate and enjoy trainer Jan Standish and her dancing dog, Gracie’s, performance. Other groups, such as the 4-H Club through the UT Extension Office, participated through dog-themed sales. 

“We raised over $1,500 for the causes,” Jeana Chapman reported. “ We are so thrilled it went well.”

As of now, funds are still coming in. The current numbers fall at $1,453. SNAP sales go directly to the program and equal approximately $160. Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary and the Johnson County Center for the Arts split the specific category sales 80 percent to 20 percent, respectively, leaving $1,034 for Rescue Dog and $258 for the art center. During a previous interview, Rescue Dog founder Melissa Gentry said she hoped the fundraiser became an annual event.

Although COVID-19 interferes with event participation numbers, the Independence Day market numbers stayed on the high end of average, at about 260 people. Johnson County Farmers Market Director Jennifer Skarsaune seems hopeful but recognizes that the pandemic can make attendance hard to predict.  

Skarsaune is a long-time customer of the farmers market but took over the reins as director earlier this season. 

“It’s been a change,” Skarsaune explained. “I’ve looked at the market as a customer, but this is a different perspective.”

Skarsaune hopes to help the market grow. She is currently working on free recipes revolving around ingredients at the market available for each week. Interested parties can pick up a recipe book and any new recipes at the market’s booth during the weekly event. 

Another one of Skarsaune’s efforts focuses on helping spread the word that SNAP benefits can be used at the market. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps, helps those in need to afford nutritious food. 

The Johnson County Farmers Market is a 501c3 non-profit organization open from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday. For more information on the Johnson County Farmers Market and upcoming events, visit johnsoncountyfm.com. To support the market, visit its GoFundMe page linked on its webpage.