By Ken de la Bastide
Kokomo — Kokomo’s Farmers Market is expanding to two locations, with markets taking place on Saturday and Wednesday.
Ivy Tech Community College, St. Joseph Hospital and the Howard County commissioners each have pledged to provide $10,000 to broaden the reach of the Farmers Market in 2013.
The Saturday market in downtown Kokomo will continue, and a second location on the city’s west side will take place on Wednesday evenings. Dates and times of operation have not been determined, but both markets are expected to open in the spring.
The city of Kokomo and the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance are working with Howard County, Ivy Tech and St. Joseph Hospital on the expansion of the Farmers Market to provide local growers with a place to sell their product and to afford local residents the opportunity to purchase fresh produce.
Market Master Mandi Wright-Jarrett will be back for a fourth year to oversee the Farmers Market.
“This partnership of Ivy Tech, county government and St. Joseph Hospital, with the assistance of the Alliance and the city, will help us leverage resources to help ensure the market is successful for many years to come,” she said.
Wright-Jarrett said the group is looking for a downtown location, and the west side market will be located at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Jefferson Street.
“We talked about a west side location last year,” she said. “This will be a good bridge between the west side and downtown.”
Wright-Jarrett said the $30,000 will be spent on advertising and will pay her salary. Her hours are being increased from 10 to 25 per week, but a dollar amount has not been set.
The Kokomo Arts Commission will continue to provide music and art displays at both markets this year.
“The college plays an important role in quality of life in our community,” Steve Daily, chancellor of Ivy Tech, said. “The Farmers Market is one of those activities that make people want to live and work in our community. We have used the market to help facilitate internships and college studies for our students.”
Kathy Young, president of St. Joseph, said the Farmers Market fits with the overall mission of the hospital to promote better health among Howard County residents.
“The organic produce and healthy eating choices people get from the market help ensure a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Tyler Moore, president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners, said the $10,000 being provided by the county through the Economic Development Income Tax is a good use of those funds.
Commissioner Paul Wyman said the Farmers Market attracts visitors from around the region and helps create jobs.