AgGeorgia Farm Credit is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 AgGeorgia Farmers Market grant program. Grants in the amount of $2,000 each were distributed to five local markets throughout the cooperative’s territory for use in advertising and promotional objectives. This is the third year of the program, with the cooperative so far awarding $24,500 to help support rural Georgia markets and their vendors.

“There were a lot of great applications, which made the selection process difficult,” said Corey Cottle, AgGeorgia’s Chief Marketing Officer. “However, we were excited that the markets chosen were in very different growth stages, but all had excellent plans for the funds to make an impact for each. The grants awarded this year will go towards helping a brand-new market, a market that is reopening after struggling through Covid, and three other markets that are more established but looking to expand their reach in their communities.”

The 2023 AgGeorgia Farmers Market Grant recipients are: Lyerly Farmers Market (Lyerly, Ga), Stable 41 Farmers Market (Fort Oglethorpe, Ga), Dodge County Farmers Market (Eastman, Ga), D&S Produce and Mercantile (Summerville, Ga), and Cordele Farmers Market (Cordele, Ga).

Lyerly Farmers Market was established this year, with their first market being held in June.  This market does more than provide opportunities for small farmers and businesses to sell their products – it has helped bring the community together.  Market Manager Crystal Groce stated, “The grant from AgGeorgia has helped us bring this dream to reality. We have witnessed people engaging in conversation, welcoming new community members to the area, sharing stories and growing techniques, forging new friendships, and so much more all while enjoying a festive atmosphere.  We are so thankful for AgGeorgia and for their partnership in connecting our community to our food local food economy.”

The mission at D&S Produce and Mercantile is to create a place for consumers to connect with local farmers and crafters while becoming educated about where their food and goods come from.  “These funds will help us to increase our efforts to build community awareness of our growing market located right in the heart of Downtown Summerville!” exclaims Market Manager David Yarbrough.  “We strive to bring in the freshest regional produce and products for our customers at affordable prices. That way, we help our farm families throughout Georgia market their goods and provide our customers goods they’ll be proud to know are Georgia’s own.”

AgGeorgia plans to continue the program in 2024 and encourages interested markets in the association’s 79 county service area, particularly those who have applied and not yet been selected, to apply next year.