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Feb 24, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Brian DeSmet’

Local market masters unite to form St. Louis Farmers Market Association

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

032211_fmarketThe creation of the St. Louis Farmers Market Association is the latest effort to make make fresh, locally grown food available to more consumers here in town. The group, still in its infancy, currently includes the likes of seven area farmers’ markets: Maplewood, Tower Grove, Downtown, Ferguson, Webster Groves, Ellisville and Carondelet. Market masters from these markets began meeting in January for the association, which is currently overseen by Maplewood market master Brian DeSmet.

The idea, DeSmet explained, grew from a discussion that he had last summer with Tom Flood, sales director at Schlafly, and Patrick Horine, founder of the Downtown and Tower Grove farmers’ markets. The goal for the association is “to be a resource for producer-only markets and to grow the knowledge of producer-only markets in the area,” said DeSmet. “We want to brand the group and get more media [attention] and ‘get outside the choir’ and preach to people who don’t already come to farmers’ markets.”

In addition to its marketing objectives, the St. Louis Farmers Market Association also hopes to make wholesome food accessible to more people. In particular, the group would like to build the infrastructure necessary to bring EBT machines on the premises of the participating farmers’ markets, thus enabling consumers to purchase items using a debit card or SNAP, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program otherwise known as food stamps. DeSmet also told The Scoop that the association will be investigating the possibility of grant funding to offer double-dollars for SNAP recipients in an effort to increase the buying capabilities of those receiving financial assistance for food.

“We need something that helps grow markets in general, that unites us, and helps us reach more people. That is what we are really trying to do,” summed DeSmet. “We are really getting off the ground at this point.” DeSmet’s first order of business: establish a set of bylaws and create a Web site for the group.

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