Church starts eastern Clark County market

Pastor says effort is to bring community together.

The South Vienna Artisan and Farmer’s Market is being held from 4-7 p.m. every Thursday through October in the parking lot of the United Church of South Vienna, 227 E. Main St. It features fresh produce, eggs, meats, flowers and planters, hanging baskets, baked goods, crafts and art, among other things.

“We just came up with the idea back in January,” said United pastor Scott Griswold. “I like to bake bread, and was part of one in Urbana. We thought it would be nice to have a farmer’s market, just to bring people together.”

Profit is not the church’s goal, although it will accept donations. There is no admission charge, no charge to be a vendor and free hot dogs are served.

“We don’t have anybody signing contracts,” said Griswold. “If you want to come over and sell your goods, you are welcome. It’s about building community, to have a conversation place.”

As with all new efforts, it has taken a while to get off the ground.

“So far in six weeks, we’ve had some good days and we’ve had some slow days,” said Griswold. “Early on, the weather wasn’t very good.”

Now that the weather is warmer, the idea is beginning to catch on.

“I’ve been here five weeks and each week, we are seeing a few more folks come, and we are getting repeat customers, which is very important,” said Dee Balduff, who farms two acres in Lafayette in nearby Madison County. “My family has been doing this for a long time. It takes time to get going; you can’t expect 100 people to rush to something when it is new.”

Alice Donkin, of South Vienna, who was buying homemade bread Thursday at the farmer’s market, says it is something that eastern Clark County has needed for a long time.

“I’ve lived in my house for 63 years and they have never had anything like this in South Vienna,” said Donkin, a retired South Vienna Elementary School teacher. “I think a lot of people need to know about it.”

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