By Cody Thompson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND –  The Grapeland Farmers Market was awarded a $1,000 grant by Capital Farm Credit in Bryan to use for their 2017 season in April.

“We’re very appreciative of CFC for awarding us this grant,” Grapeland Farmers Market manager Tammy Hassell told the Messenger on Monday. “I know they get a lot of applicants every year and it means a lot that we were one of the ones chosen.”

The Grapeland Farmers Market intends to use the grant for advertising purposes, according to Hassell.

“Our primary use for the money is to help spread the word about the farmers market and CFC,” Hassell said. “We’ve already used some of the grant to get Grapeland Farmers Market t-shirts made so we can sell them to help raise more money for other activities.”

Hassell claims that farmers markets are a must have in small communities and especially Grapeland.

“Grapeland has a rich agricultural history and it always confused me that we didn’t have a farmers market in the past,” Hassell said. “Several of the local farmers wanted a way to sell their produce in town so I got together with them and we created the farmers market. Farmers markets are a good way to help the local farmers in your community and helps build the local economy.”

Hassell stated that the rest of the grant money as well as the money raised from selling t-shirts will be used to bring in more vendors and activities for children.

CFC has provided financing to Texas farmers, ranchers, rural property owners and agribusiness for over 100 years, according to a CFC press release.

“CFC is proud to to be an important part of the rich history of supporting our farmers and ranchers,” CFC chief lending officer Jay Stewart said in the press release. “As a borrower-owned cooperative, our mission is to help rural areas grow and thrive by providing these farmers and ranchers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful.”

This year, CFC has awarded 29 grants totaling $31,500 to farmers markets across the state, according to the press release.

“Many consumers today have little appreciation for the hard work it takes to put food on our tables. Local farmers markets provide an opportunity to connect and help tell that story. We established the farmers market grant program to provide these local markets with additional resources they need to support local farmers,” Stewart said. “Many farmers get their start selling to local markets. Our grant program is designed to support these farmers create local awareness for their markets.”

Stewart stated that to be eligible for the grant, the farmers market had to show how they would use the grant to increase awareness in their area.

“Our big thing at CFC is growing the market, so naturally we have to know the grant money was being put towards just that,” Stewart said. “We received many applications with some very creative marketing strategies, and it was very hard for our selection committee to choose among the many excellent candidates.”

The Grapeland Farmer’s Market is located at Grapeland Public Library from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday during the months of May, June and July.

“We really hope to see everyone out at the farmers market sometime this summer,” Hassell said.

For more information about the Grapeland Farmers Market, visit the Grapeland Farmers Market Facebook page or call 936-687-4903.

Cody Thompson may be reached via e-mail at cthompson@messenger-news.com.