NCFM Dreams and Goals 2010 Season

The Nowata County Farmers Market is more than just a “farmers market” (no disrespect to Farmers Markets, a rich value to our society). Our goal is to expand all avenues of agriculture in Nowata County and then to NE Oklahoma and then to…… Yes, our dreams are big!

“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”                          …….Henry David Thoreau

The Nowata County Farmers Market dream developed from the local Rural Economic Development Workshops held in the Fall of 2009 in Nowata and was hosted by Tom Roane, Nowata City Manager. Tom’s parting words to the members was “to find our passion in one of the areas of community work.”  I thought what does Nowata have that fits somewhere in my passion for gardening and can bring economic development to the county? Land, lots of land! And farmers/ranchers, lots of them! So the seeds began to grow and the dreams started to form and take on complex plots like a good mystery novel.  Amazingly, all the right people started talking  to me about their visions and goals of being part of a farmers market and things began to fall into place. When I started to ask city and county officials for their stamp of approval, I got positive feedback; when I started talking to the OSU Extension office, I received encouragement and support from the great staff; when I reached out to the national, state and county organizations I got more than I asked. My family has eaten more sandwiches and my 5 year-old granddaughter has been patient with her Nana at the many meetings and my husband has loaded the dishwasher and washing machine more than usual; they have adjusted and added value to this dream of mine.

My dreams of this market venture ranged from the single mom who wanted to grow herbs in her backyard to add a little more to the budget to a farmer with 900 acres of wheat who wanted to sell some locally to a woman who wanted to make her famous wild plum jelly to a farm family that wanted to develop a agritourism business.

A group of fantastic individuals (only talking about the others, not me) stepped up to the plate (if you will) and became Nowata County Farmers Market Board members:

  • Suzan Perkins (me)            President
  • Bo Bohannon                        Vice President
  • Jaime Clark                           Secretary
  • Pat Knotts                              Treasurer
  • Megan Maxson                    OSU Extension Educator/Advisory
  • Gage Milliman                      OSU Extension Ag Director/Advisory

My dream became their dream or their dream became mine or we merge onto common ground, hard to say but we are all dedicated to make the NCFM the best it can be! One of our 2010 goals is to accept food stamps and WIC later in the 2010 Season. Currently, McFerron’s Meats will be able to accept food stamps for their products. We are becoming certified as a Oklahoma Grown Market. There will be a variety of Value Added Products offered at the market, like ground flour and spices, all of which are produced in a commercial kitchen. Plans are being worked on right this moment for a commercial kitchen opportunity for producers/growers for a very reasonable rental fee. The market is also a member of the Oklahoma Buy Fresh Buy Local-Green Country.

This weekend, May 1st, our 2010 Season will open! The month of May brings two give-aways: 1)May 15th A piece of Vintage Garden Junque Art during the Nowata Junque Arte Festival 2) May 29th A barrel made into a composter with a bag of compost starter. There will be a sign up sheet for each promotion and participants do not have to be present to win.

Some of the workshops planned for the 2010 Season are as follows:

  1. May 29th Barrel Workshop/Composter/Rain/Strawberry
  2. June 19th brings an artisan bread workshop during National Food Week
  3. July 8th offers a canning workshop brought by OSU Extension.

One of the biggest NCFM events features Jeffery Weeks from the Oklahoma Department of Agritourism who will be in Nowata, June 15th, 5pm-7pm at the Nowata County Fairgrounds to give a talk on “What Agritourism can do for Nowata County.” We will have a  “farmer’s table” dinner that night using locally grown meat and produce and the cost will be on a donation basis. I think there will be some artisan bread rolls on the menu!

Another one of our goals is to make available locally grown healthy foods and encourage healthier eating habits for our local citizens. We have partnered with the Cherokee Nation and the Nowata County 4-H program to bring this goal to fruition. The No-We-Ta (Cherokee for welcome)Community Group coordinated by Jaime Clark, Cherokee Health Educator, has developed a community garden and if there is any extra produce it will be sold at the NCFM. The Nowata County 4-H groups also have a garden plot within the Cherokee community garden and will be selling their extra produce for funds to further the 4-H program. The community group held a workshop on Wild Onion Gathering (Mama Says Vintage blogged the event). The No-We-Ta group has many more activities planned around the goal of better nutrition, for example, wild blackberry picking and making Cherokee Blackberry Dumplings. All I can say is YUM!

The Nowata Oklahoma Blog offers Creative Advertising Services with three levels of market sponsorships for corporations, businesses and community minded individuals. The market will be producing a monthly newsletter cocked full of gardening tips, crafts, recycling, recipes, sustainability issues, opportunities for agriculture ventures, homemaking arts and local events. Those businesses or individuals sponsoring the NCFM through the blog also will be acknowledged in the newsletter and through the social media avenues used by the market.

The market is using 21st century technology to bring health and prosperity to our local area!

We have a blog within a blog, NCFM hopped onto to the Facebook bandwagon, Nowata County Farmers Market . Social media will be our friend and we give much of the credit to Cindy W. Morrison who has given free social media classes for the Tulsa City-County Library. There will be tourism videos posted on a developed You Tube channel and how-to videos on a ROKU Channel, which will bring the Nowata County Farmers Market to the world’s front door!

Hope to see everyone this season!

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”………….Eleanor Roosevelt

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