Our Roots

Our Market began in 2013 when a small group of farmers wanted to ensure that fresh, locally grown agriculture became available to the people of rural Appalachia.

Grow Appalachia and the Community Farm Alliance joined us in our second year and continue to be a part of growing our market today.

 

The FARMacy Program was created from a partnership between our Market and the Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC). FARMacy provides fruit and vegetable prescriptions to those with diet-related health issues.

Cowan Community Center in partnership with Kentucky State University provided a Food Booth to be placed at our Market. Out of this booth, meals are provided by the USDA Summer Food Service Program. Because of these partnerships, those 18 and under can eat for free.

The City of Whitesburg Farmers Market continues to be a thriving community space that fosters relationships between farmers and community members. Currently, 50 growers and artisans travel to the market from Letcher and the surrounding counties to engage with the community from May to October. The market provides a space that allows vendors to have confidence in growing their own businesses, knowing that the market will be there to help them serve the community.

From 2016 to 2020, the University of Kentucky established a walking program where participants could earn credit to spend at our Market by participating.

Starting in 2017, Cowan Community Center along with the City of Whitesburg joined with the Market to bring 10 weeks of fresh, live music and produce to our community on Thursday nights.

In 2018 Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises Inc. (CANE) Kitchen opened its doors. CANE Kitchen provides opportunities for local and regional growers to produce value-added products in a certified commercial Kitchen.

Additionally, our Market currently works with Cowan Community Center, EKCEP, LKLP and Gear Up to provide paid internship opportunities for local youths. One of these interns, Jaden Wright, produced a live music show at every saturday market.

Letcher County and the Market were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, our interactions between our growers and community members were changed. However, even at a distance, our Market persevered.

Following the devastating flooding in July 2022, our community was at its most vulnerable. However, thanks to a partnership between the City of Whitesburg Farmers Market and the Lee Initiative we were able to serve 300 additional families at our market with free produce for four weeks.

We have learned as a community to treasure the interactions and friendships fostered at the market. The market is about more than the produce, it is a place to sustain and nurture connections with neighbors, families, and friends. As the market moves forward, it will continuously strive to meet its four fundamental goals: accessibility for all, proof of concept, community viability, and income for farmers. The City of Whitesburg Farmers Market has grown into a complex operation that brings the community together.