Mecca Jackson Lowe, Rockmart, is credited with the idea to offer a way for growers to bring their produce to a local market.
Mecca and her husband Adam operate Turtle Bend Farm, which is dedicated to sustainable agriculture.
“There is a lot of potential in the local food economy,” Mecca said. “We see an opportunity for people to have meaningful occupations. Polk has so much farmland that has not been developed. This type of farming not only protects our natural resources but helps preserve our social and economic capital.”
According to Mecca, there is potential to sell vegetables wholesale. “We are not the first with this idea, but we don’t have to be the last,” she said.
Initially, the couple attended conferences and visited other farms. They also talked with knowledgeable people and decided the best place to begin was near their home.
They discovered that the farmer’s market is a great way to sell produce. Last year, they sold at the Dallas Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
Denise Bell, Chamber board member, said the mission statement of the Polk County Chamber is to enhance the quality of life by supporting and promoting business, industry, education and government.
She pointed out that no one expected the success of the local market. “We have had 50 vendors who have offered produce and other items,” she said.
Eric McDonald, Chamber president, said local growers asked the initial question about how to get their products to market.
Once the idea was presented, he said, it exploded and has been better than anyone expected.
“The location in downtown Rockmart with the trees and shade seem to work,” he said. “People come here from Northwest Georgia and eastern Alabama.”
Mayor Curtis Lewis, Rockmart, said the fledgling enterprise needs community support. “After next year, it can probably survive as a separate entity,” he said.