Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 6:13 PM on Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Farmers' Market

If you want to put locally grown food on your table, this is the place to shop


Did you make it to the Homer Farmers' Market last weekend? And did you see that everybody else was there, too?

It was an amazing turnout with an incredible showing from vendors. There were beautiful veggie, herb and flower starts, farm-fresh eggs, green onions, lettuce mixes, celeriac and cilantro. There was arugula so big that I had to ask what it was.

What a joy to be able to put local food on our table.

Unfortunately, there has been one group who couldn't shop at the Farmers' Market. Years ago, the government started changing over its food stamps program to a Quest card program. The Quest card works the same as a debit card, but it meant that recipients could no longer make cash purchases at places like the Homer Farmers' Market.

This year that will change.

Starting this weekend, the Market will be using a card machine at the front information booth that will be able to accept Quest cards. Recipients will not receive cash but wooden tokens that can be spent to buy food as well as veggie or herb starts to take home from the market.

Now everyone can have local food on their table.

And now that the market has a card reader, it can accept debit cards, too. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is actually the jumping off place for the first ever Homer Farmers' Market coin. Yes, the market has its own currency. The golden coin has a value of $20 that can only be used with the Homer Farmers' Market vendors. What's the advantage of that?

If you think about it, it's the best, sure-fire way to make sure that money stays in Homer. If you give a kid a coin for mowing your lawn or if you give it as a gift to a friend, you know that they will get to choose the way they spend it by supporting a local producer or crafter.

You could say the local economy is shining gold at the Homer Farmers' Market. Come see it all on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan. She can be reached at kyra@ sustainablehomer.org.