Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 9, 2013

Farmers market discussion continues

ASHLAND — The Boyd County Farmers Market has not found an Ashland home despite ongoing efforts.

Ashland City Commissioners denied a request to locate the market in Central Park late last month based on the Ashland Park Board’s recommendation. To date, no substitute Ashland location has been found for a seasonal, weekly market.

The decision continues to be a discussion item among Ashland residents and Central Park users, many of whom have offered their opinions to The Independent via telephone calls, social media and interviews conducted at the park.

Sean Miller, of Ashland, visits Central Park regularly to relax and hang out. He likes the idea of a weekly farmers market there. “I would probably use it. I don’t think it would hurt the park. I think it would be more of an asset than anything.”

In addition, Miller sees the market as a way to support local farmers and provide the community with healthy foods — a return to the “traditional way of life.”

“I think it is more healthy to have fruits and vegetables grown by regular people than people who raise it in bulk and put a lot of different pesticides and things on (produce) that are harmful to your health. I think it would be better for people’s health,” Miller said.

Miller balked at the argument that private citizens, the farmers, shouldn’t be able to make a profit from a public asset like the park. He thinks the city should support the local farmers instead of large factory farms and corporations.

Felicia Stambaugh, of Ashland, was visiting the park Friday with her infant son Nicholas, and his father Chris Tussey. While Nicholas napped in his stroller, Stambaugh and Tussey were chatting on a bench in the shade.

Stambaugh is not in favor of a farmer’s market, sharing the Park Board’s concern over increased traffic.

“In a way I think it would kind of take away from having the just the ability to relax here, just the traffic coming in and out,” she said. “I always just come here and chill out. When my son gets older, I’ll have him down here playing.”

Tussey isn’t worried about traffic. “It wouldn’t be that bad,” he said. “One day shouldn’t put that much more traffic coming in and out of here than there normally is. People are always through here anyways,” he said.

Lee Rowe, of Ashland, thinks the commission made the wrong decision denying the farmers market.

“I think it would be awesome,” he said,  “People need that in the community. I think it would help the people, it is in a better location here,” Rowe said, noting the centralized location would be easily accessible on Friday’s via public transportation and close to downtown businesses.

“Most people who use the farmer’s market are older, I don’t see them coming through here a 100 mph,” he said, about the traffic concerns.

Rowe said he brings his grandchildren or other relatives to the park’s playground “two or three times a week” and would “probably” shop at a farmer’s market.

Teresa James, of Ashland, sees the denial of a farmers market as “missed opportunity. I just found it flabbergasting,” she said, of the city’s and park boards decision to deny the request. James had hoped to take her grandchildren there to play, buy produce and meet the farmers who grew it.

A weekly, seasonal farmers market, she said, “could go in so many different directions. This could be the beginning of something that could grow for this community, for the kids and the farmers and the people that live here. It would just be something positive for the park and for healthier eating,” she said.

James said she is so upset by the decision she’s considering starting a petition to show elected officials there is support among the community for the idea.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com

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