The Overland Park Farmers’ Market is the best in the country, according to a new online poll of thousands of farmers’ markets from around the U.S.
Driving the news: The 60-year-old market in downtown Overland Park took home the title of America’s “favorite farmers market” in the 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration put on, in part, by the American Farmland Trust.
- The contest, which lasted throughout the summer before ending on Sept. 19., had farmers markets across the country participate by asking shoppers, farmers, vendors, volunteers and others to vote for their favorite markets.
- This year, the Overland Park Farmers Market received slightly more than 12,000 votes over the course of the competition, the highest tally of any of the 7,000 some markets across the country that participated.
Key quote: “We are so appreciative of our community for the support,” said Kristina Stanley, Overland Park’s city recreation supervisor. “This award affirms just how essential the farmers market truly is for people of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, national origins, and sexual orientations in our community.”
The details: With the win, the Overland Park Farmers Market will receive a $5,000 cash prize to go towards marketing, communications and other needs that help expand the market’s reach and impact.
- Stanley said the prize money will be crucial in helping bring more people to the market all season rather than just the high summer months.
Background: This was the first time Overland Park participated in America’s Farmers Market Celebration.
- The contest aims to highlight the work and “vital role” of farmers markets in local communities, according to the competition’s website.
- The list of markets that participate “is the largest, most comprehensive listing of farmers markets in the U.S.,” with markets of every size in all types of communities.
What’s next for the Overland Park Farmers’ Market?
The win for the Overland Park Farmers’ Market comes at a time when the city has started the process to fundamentally remake long-standing downtown fixture.
- For the next few months, Kansas City-based real estate firm Copaken Brooks is gathering residents’ feedback about a proposed plan to rebuild the market’s aging pavilion
- Once that public input is gathered, the firm is expected to present its findings to the city council on Nov. 7.
- A current concept development plan calls for the market to be updated with both open air and enclosed market spaces, incorporation of the Clock Tower Plaza and more.