Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Keep the farmers market downtown

    As a vendor at the Ketchum Farmers Market for four years, I express my support for keeping the market in downtown Ketchum.
    I have come to see the market as more important than just a selling place. People come to the market to see friends, learn about a sustainable lifestyle and network with community members of like minds. They also come for an enjoyable outing, satisfied that they are supporting local agriculture, chefs and crafts-makers. From my booth, I see families, people of all ages and pocketbook sizes, and lots and lots of visitors. I see owners and employees from nearby businesses who love the convenience of the current location. The farmers market has become a social crossroads and an important tourist attraction.
    If the market is moved to a remote part of Ketchum, near the Forest Service Park as has been proposed, it will wither. I believe that parking availability is not what brings people to the market; it is social context and visibility. It will take years for another location to “take,” and, meanwhile, vendors who cannot weather lower sales drop out. An important flavor of Ketchum will be lost.
    The city of Ketchum has worked hard, and spent much money, to develop a vibrant downtown. Why start lopping off important contributions to that liveliness and spirit? I know that many neighbor businesses do support, and financially benefit from, the market.
    There are temporary inconveniences on Tuesday afternoons during market season, but I strongly believe that the pluses outweigh pinched parking availability and the ruckus of people talking and enjoying acoustic music. Please, if you support keeping the farmers market in downtown Ketchum, contact the mayor and City Council. Don’t let naysayers’ opinions be the only ones considered simply because they were the only ones expressed.
Lisa Horton


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