Farmers markets face uncertain future due to COVID-19 pandemic

Famers markets face uncertain future due to COVID-19 pandemic

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a sign of the times - budget cuts.

Some state farmers markets across Georgia could close because of those cuts due to the health crisis.

The Savannah State Farmers Market off of Highway 80 is just one of the farmers markets with a uncertain future.

“We would have to go out of business. And these other folks might have to also. There’s about seven or eight different businesses in this market, the restaurant, everybody," said Stoke’s Producer owner Charlie Stokes.

Stokes has been a vendor at the Savannah State Farmers Market for almost 25 years.

“We started real little, grown a good bit along with some other folks that’s on the market. It helps run this market. It means a lot to this community this market is here.”

But the future of the farmers market is currently uncertain.

WTOC spoke with Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner who says it’s one of the proposed farmers markets to close due to budget cuts.

Other vendors like Steve Howard hope lawmakers will come and speak with vendors to see the potential of the market.

“I really would trust the point of really reevaluating farmers markets and making them work as opposed to looking at them as a drain, because I really think they can be an economic benefit to everyone," said Howard, owner of Local Farm Bag.

Howard has been at the farmers market for eight years and found out about the potential closure less than a week ago.

He says the market is precious to the community.

“It’s a great staging area for a lot of different relief efforts like when Hurricane Matthew was here, a lot of emergency vehicles parked out here and stage a lot of items out of this facility. And I think taking away another venue for local for farmers to sell their product is just a wrong way to go about it or a wrong place to really cut money as far as the budgets are concerned.”

WTOC will make sure to keep you updated once a final decision is made in the coming months.

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