‘Save the market’

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A decade ago some said a farmer’s market just wouldn’t work in downtown Camas, citing competition from other established markets as the primary concern.

Jump ahead several years later, and thanks to a shift toward a trend more supportive of consuming locally grown products, the dedication of many downtown merchants, and the hard work and passion of even more volunteers, the Camas Farmer’s Market is described by many as an event that has grown into a success.

But putting on this weekly event that runs from May through September isn’t cheap. Organizers estimate the annual cost at $25,000.

Historically, funding has come from a variety of sources. Initially, the city of Camas jumped on board to help. In 2008, it budgeted $21,000 to the effort, and each year that number decreased to bottom out at zero in 2011. Grants and donations of all amounts have sustained the market.

It’s uncertain in these tough financial times, when budget cuts in all departments are commonplace, whether any funding for the farmer’s market will be included in the city’s 2012 budget.

What is certain, however, is the value of the farmer’s market to the Camas community. From access to locally grown produce where consumers can talk to the farmers, to fostering a sense of community, its value is measurable.

Citizens can contribute to the cause through several avenues, including making donations at the market on Wednesdays during this month’s campaign, as well as by attending events being held in partnership with the Liberty Theater, which are detailed in today’s Post-Record.

In the end, it should be the citizen support, and grants and donations from outside sources, that have the most impact on the future of the Farmer’s Market, and exactly what it will look like and offer in the future.

The market has been an asset to the community, and should be saved by the community.