Farmers’ market slated to open in April

Published 5:44 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A new farmers’ market will open in Bogalusa in the spring.

The Bogalusa Farmers’ Market is set to open Saturday, April 1, at Goodyear Park, in conjunction with the Our Lady of the Angels Hospital “Family Fest.” The market will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. that Saturday, and will then be open every following Saturday at the same time and location.

Michael Norman is the market manager for the Bogalusa Farmers’ Market. He is also the manager of the market in Abita Springs, and has seen it flourish in that community. He hopes Bogalusa’s market will do the same.

“The mission is to improve the health and welfare of the local community,” he said. “We also want to develop a locally sourced food system, where farmers have a venue to bring their products.”

Currently, market organizers are recruiting vendors for the market. Anyone who is interested should visit the market on Facebook by searching for “Bogalusa Farmers’ Market,” email or call Norman at 985-807-4447.

In addition to farmers, the market will also have opportunities for other vendors, including sewers, bakers, painters, crafters and other artisans.

Norman said that the hospital conducted a “needs assessment” last year for Bogalusa, and determined that the market was something that would be beneficial for the community. Initially, farmers and vendors will be asked to bring their own tents, tables and items to Goodyear Park, but in the future there may be permanent pavilions or booths installed.

“That’s always a possibility down the road,” he said. “In the meantime, right now we’re just actively seeking vendors and trying to get the word out.”

The farmers’ market is being conducted by a new organization called the “Washington Parish United Initiative.” Norman said the group is a collection of a number of non-profit and community organizations, and its focus will be health and wellness.

“The farmers’ market will also serve as a platform for other programs,” Norman said. “We’ll be working with many of the social services agencies in Bogalusa to offer things like nutrition training, health care, cooking classes, classes for young mothers with young children, and that sort of thing. We’ll also be a vehicle for doing things like community gardens and teaching people home gardening.

“Everything will be based under the umbrella of health and nutrition.”