It has been a vague goal of mine to start a winter market that is similar in spirit to the summer markets, but obviously with different goods. In the past month or two I have heard others mention the same dream. A couple of them even organized a small bizarre in their living room that was kind of like the People's Market. The turnout was slight, but the important thing is there was turnout. The biggest obstacles to a larger consistent market are practical; mainly concerning location, legal, and health questions. Our one possible space is not viable because of firecode. Secondly, local winter food will consist of a lot of canned goods and probably wild game. How can we make sure the food is safe? Will we have to close down the whole market if one of the vendors sells a tainted jar of beets?
Also, I wonder if Missoula would be able to support an ongoing winter market. Any suggestions or opinions?
With a growing demand and an ongoing market, more farmers might be willing to invest in the infrastructure that would allow them to grow year round. I've read about farmers in cold climates growing year round, Eliot Coleman in Maine is a good example.
I would imagine that local farmers or market masters from the summer markets would be a good place for advice and info.
In any case, the idea of growing food through winter is great, something that hadn't occurred to me before. It looks like Four Seasons is on to something. I wonder how the home gardener could scale the same methods down to something more manageable.
One option might be to link up to the Montana Bartering Community. There's some national barter networks, but I think Montana has a few. www.wetradeneetwork.com is one MT based site. Are there any other even more local options? This may be a subject for a new thread?
In response to Dawn's question that was accidentally posted in another thread, I have spoken with enough interested sellers that I'm convinced that part is taken care of. By sellers, I mean both people who grow food and make crafts. My concern and that of some friends is whether or not community members would travel to the market on cold and snowy or rainy days. For that reason, we were thinking something indoors and easily accessible. Your fairgrounds idea sounds interesting. Are there heated buildings there that we could use? I was also thinking of a church annex or something along those lines. Cost has been one of the main problems with finding a space. I'm trying to think if there is anyone who would be interested in the market enough to sponsor us with a space. Maybe we could talk to the city.
Someone on here said he was part of organizing the original Missoula Farmer's Market. I wonder if he would know if they have to pay for their space downtown...
we have discussed for the past few years, the start of a winter market. without going into all the details - I believe it is viable. we have in fact begun a weekly buying club (underground market) with farm-fresh items delivered weekly and organic farm-direct items sold at wholesale costs. there is already the beginnings of this -
How do the rest of us get in on this??
Greg M Peters wrote:
How do the rest of us get in on this??
Just email me for more info:
RealFood Buying Club
The buildings a the fair ground would surely work if you could get people into them.
Seems driving in winter is always an issue for folks.
I think it would be great to have something with in waking distance of down town.
Warm food & drink would always be popular at theses & perhaps crafters who sell mittens & scarves.
We are going to try window farming this winter & are looking for others who might like to give it a try. Let me know if you are interested.
Here is the Link: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/4407_0/missoula-eco-forum/2010-winter-hydroponic-window-farm-project-join-us