Zenda Conerly pays Greene County farmer Lonnie Carpenter for produce at the Kingsport Farmers Market in this file photograph from July 2013.
KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Farmers Market has had a presence in the Model City for more than 30 years, offering a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods, flowers, plants and crafts to the public two days a week.
However, during a recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Mayor Dennis Phillips raised the issue of how the market has fewer vendors now than in recent years and whether there is a rift among some of the members of the Kingsport Farmers Market Association.
Kingsport has had a farmers markets in its downtown area for at least 36 years, moving from behind the Kingsport Public Library, to a parking lot on Center Street, and now to its permanent, indoor facility at the corner of Clinchfield and Center.
The association leases the building from the city (about $2,000 a year to cover utilities) and in return brings in the vendors and manages the market for the community. Vendors have to be small producers, living within 50 miles of the market and grow at least 50 percent of the products they sell.
Wholesalers are not allowed, but the association does allow farmers to go out during certain times of the year to bring in products to supplement what they sell.
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