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Grant aimed at establishing Farmers Market a ‘destination’

The Park Rapids Farmers Market is working with the University of Minnesota Extension to establish the market as a “destination” every Saturday.

The Extension Office assisted Farmers Market Manager Brenda Kent in obtaining a grant for funding to pay musicians and physical activity instructors for a portion of the day.

Beginning Aug. 6 and running through Sept. 24 each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon the destination market features live music, yoga and food tastings, food demonstrations, recipes and shopping tours.

The grant is for $1,400 from Northwest Regional Sustainable Partnership to offer music and physical activity at the market.

Donna Anderson, SNAP-Ed educator in Hubbard County with the University of Minnesota Extension, has partnered with the Park Rapids Farmers Market to demonstrate recipes with samples of the local foods and shopping tours each month (with prior registration).

The idea is to provide a “destination” feel where people can come shop, enjoy the music, take in physical activity, sample local foods and sit, relax and socialize with people.

CHI St. Joseph’s Health has partnered to offer transportation with van passes to the market from two locations. Pick up at Court Apartments is 9:45 a.m. with drop off at 12 noon; pick up at River Heights Apartments is 10:15 a.m. and drop off at 12:15 p.m. The van service is to bring participants that may not be able to get to the market on their own.

Contact Brenda Kent, market manager, at 218-252-7919 for more information.

EBT qualified market

The Park Rapids Farmers Market now uses an EBT food support machine at the market to accept SNAP participants. This allows those with EBT to swipe the card and shop the market. “Market Bucks” are also available where the amount matches the amount swiped on the EBT card; for example, $10 on EBT brings $10 matching funds from the state to purchase local foods.

Kent said there aren’t many EBT-qualified markets outside the Twin Cities.

“Every market manager who has started EBT has seen their market grow, so I am excited to provide this to our community,” she said.

The market received a grant to purchase the EBT machine (valued at over $1,000) and the transaction costs are paid for over three years.