Planning for this year’s Arkansas City Farm and Art Market is under way — under the direction of a new coordinator.

Farm and Art Market

Courtesy photo

“Kristi and Jerry Old approached me mid-market last year and asked me to consider taking over,” said new organizer Brittany Carder.

“They want to officially retire and have freedom to go visit their grandchildren during the summers.”

Carder has many ideas for the market, including starting to organize the event in March.

She already has set up an organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 15 at the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“If you are interested in joining as a vendor this year, you can sign up at the meeting. Call (me) with any questions at (316) 992-5763,” Carder said.

“Do you know someone that makes great pies? Makes their own pasta noodles? Are you planting a vegetable garden this year? Plant your garden a little bit bigger and come join the market to sell your extra produce. We need more produce vendors and welcome entrepreneurs that have a product or service they’d like to sell.”

In addition to earlier planning, Carder intends to start a “Market Meal of the Week.”

“There will be a new recipe each week available for families to pick up,” she said. “The recipe will be mostly or entirely of ingredients available from our vendors that week.”

Carder also said she plans to organize the Market Meal of the Week in a scavenger-hunt style, with a balloon attached to vendor booths that are selling items for that week’s recipe.

“Usually, we see people show up alone, get their planned items quickly and leave immediately after,” she said.

“I am really hoping to create an environment where people will bring their children and browse and linger for longer.”

Carder said she has no plans to move the event from Wilson Park.

“Our market is growing rapidly, though, so there were thoughts of relocating in the future — but with the master plan for Wilson Park soon and how they’re offering so many needed things for our market, it makes sense to stay,” she said.

“I want more vendors,” Carder said. “Anyone that has a business idea or product that they want to see if there is a market for, the Farm and Art Market is such a good launching pad for anyone interested in starting a business.”

She is hoping to find additional produce vendors, since the Olds used to provide the majority of the produce at the event.

“I want to turn the market into a breeding ground for local entrepreneurs and encourage people to start businesses here,” Carder said. “We don’t have a pie person — there are so many things that people expect to find at a farmers market that we just haven’t found a person to fill that void yet.”