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City Council debates new Farmer’s Market location

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The preservation of the Athens Farmers Market was on the forefront of At-Large Rep. Steve Patterson’s mind during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Due to the loss of their current location, the Athens Farmers Market recently sought the support of the Athens City Council. The relocation and assistance of the Farmers Market is one of Patterson’s primary objectives as of right now.

The Farmers Market, which meets every Saturday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is losing its current meeting spot on East State Street to a Texas Roadhouse.

“One of the biggest budgets that I am working on right now is identifying a space within the city for the Farmers Market,” Patterson said.

Since 1972, the Farmers Market has become a staple in the city of Athens, as well as “an icon from a tourism standpoint,” according to Patterson. However the Athens Farmers Market does not only serve as an attraction.

Patterson, a Health Psychology professor at Ohio University, stressed the health benefits that the Farmers Market provides.

“I am a Health Psychologist by training, so I know how critical it is for diet to be the cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle, and that is one of the things the Farmers Market provides for the city,” Patterson said.

The economic benefits of a local farmers market were also addressed by Patterson during the meeting.

“Keeping the Farmers Market is also wise from an economic standpoint. The farmers market generates on average between 1.5 and 2.5 million dollars annually,” Patterson said.

Additionally, the Farmers Market means that close to 265 people have a means for their main or additional income.

The next step to keep the Farmers Market alive and well is to find it a new location.

Patterson and Mayor Paul Wiehl are looking into several locations, including spaces on Mill Street and East State Street, as well as spaces in the Uptown area.

Patterson also suggested that a city park/recreational area could be created to solve the problem. This would involve the city purchasing a parcel of land and renting a portion of it out to the Farmers Market.

“There are a lot of possibilities to be explored,” Patterson said.

 

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