ALAMOSA — Helping to keep vendor fees low and local produce affordable, the Alamosa city council is supporting the Alamosa Farmers’ Market this summer.
The council recently voted to provide $1,000 in funding for the market, with the money coming from the city’s economic development budget.
“We are at a point in our market where our expenses for the market are not quite being met by the income we raise with our vendors fees,” Alamosa Farmers’ Market Director Mandy Pittman explained to the council. “We have decided to increase those fees but don’t want to be too hard on our vendors.”
She asked the city council for $1,000 to supplement those fees. With the city’s assistance, vendor fees will increase from $10 a week to $13. Without the city’s help, the fees would have gone to $15 a week, Pittman explained.
She said if vendors have to pay more, they might have to charge the public more for their produce, which might affect market attendance. She said the market is an important part of the Alamosa community.
“We want to keep it going and strengthening over time,” she said.
The farmers’ market budget supports Pittman’s position, site managers and a craft facilitator who leads out in the free children’s craft booth.
Diana Jones said the farmers’ market provides a place for local residents who have excess garden produce to sell it. Many of the vendors don’t make much money, she said.
“We want to keep it affordable,” Jones added.
It is also a contributor to the local economy, she said. The market hosted 65 vendors over the course of the summer last year, Jones said, with about $100,000 worth of goods and produce sold.
The farmers’ market draws 150-200 customers a week, Pittman said.
Pittman said the Alamosa Farmers’ Market will be opening a second market this summer. The market has been open in downtown Alamosa on Saturdays, but the second market will be open on Wednesdays at the farm park to accommodate farmers and the public, she said.
Councilman Jan Vigil, the liaison for the farm park, said he was glad to see the relationship between the farmers’ market and farm park building. He made the motion to support the farmers’ market with $1,000.
Councilor Liz Thomas Hensley added that she was glad to see another option for farmers’ market days, since not everyone can attend on Saturdays.
Councilman Ty Coleman said the farmers’ market enhances the quality of life, brings economic development and fits into the city’s comprehensive plan.
Alamosa Mayor Josef Lucero added, “It’s a great experience.”