Shoppers at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market will be encouraged to bring their own bags and bottles as the market goes plastic bagless for the first time this spring, a possible first for markets in the area.
Kristina Stanley, city recreation supervisor, said the farmers are coming up with alternatives such as paper or compostable bags, but the ubiquitous plastic “thank you” bags will be a thing of the past on the market’s opening day, April 11.
Stanley provided community development committee members with a recent update on the market. She said the city started letting vendors know in December 2017 that plastic was on the way out. The change is a challenge, she said, because the plastic is cheap and the norm for many sellers. But most are now on board and have found other ways to bag the produce, she said, adding the smaller things like berries and loose lettuce can still have plastic bagging as protection.
Meanwhile customer support has been “over the moon,” Staley said. Repurposed banners that have been made into shopping bags will also be offered for sale to shoppers.
Plastic bag bans are something, “you do see in a lot of markets. We just happen to be the first in this area to have implemented it. But I don’t think we’ll be the last,” she said.
Another change planned this year will be the closure of Marty Street on market days. That will give the market a bigger footprint and add a few more vendors. Closing the street creates 19 spaces, but because of the gear that farmers bring, doesn’t add that many vendors. Last year there were 82 vendors but this year will be 87, she said.
Overall the vendors are a diverse group, Staley said. There are 28 bilingual vendors speaking 14 languages.