I read with great interest the two articles in Wednesday's Eastern Wake News about plans for the Knightdale Farmers' Market and for pedestrian walkways connecting schools to the new park and Mingo Creek Greenway. One of the purposes of these walkways is to promote healthy habits like walking and playing out of doors. I could not help but notice the active involvement of Knightdale Parks and Recreation in both of the plans.
I also learned that the Knightdale Farmer's Market exists under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation center and is a part of Knightdale's town budget. In contrast, Wendell's farmer's market is run through the Chamber of Commerce with no funding and is supported on the backs of the vendors along with the hard work of its manager, Brandy Hunter.
Hunter has single-handedly and more than once with her own funds brought the market back from the brink. She started up the EBT program making fresh, local produce available to Wendell's underserved, and organized a series of special events that she often oversees while also managing the market. The vendors have also contributed to the market by donating signage, tables and umbrellas, running programs alongside their booths and taking responsibility for the upkeep of the outdoor space generously donated by local businessman Phillip Kirk.
Where is the Town of Wendell and Wendell Parks and Recreation in this story? For Parks and Rec,, it seems a no-brainer that healthy eating and physical activity would go together. It also seems, since the farmers' market is held right on Wendell Boulevard, that the town would be promoting it as a way of drawing in much needed traffic to downtown.
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Recently, Regina Harmon found that the surrounding towns were indeed supporting their markets along with their Parks Department. Harmon recently presented this information at a town council meeting, not to point fingers or assign fault, but to show what could be possible here in Wendell.
With folks like Hunter, Harmon and others working hard on the street level, one has to wonder just what the problem is here in Wendell. Can Wendell, and the people who have the power to make decisions, find a way to support this and other ventures that can only help Wendell become the town it once was?