Letters to the Editor

Bryan-College Station needs a permanent farmers market for year-round use

Senate Bill 572, introduced by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and cosponsored by state Sen. Charles Schwertner and state Rep. Kyle Kacal, significantly expanded the Texas Cottage Food Law. The expansion of allowed foods and sales venues can have significant impact on economic liberty and the local foods movement in Texas communities that take advantage of this opportunity. The vote for SB 572 was 31-0 in the Senate 141-1 with two not voting in the House, which illustrates the Legislature's strong support for economic liberty and local foods for Texas communities.

This letter identifies actions that Brazos Valley residents should champion in order maximize the potential benefits that SB 572 offers. The Local Foods movement requires practical and convenient facilities where local food producers and consumers can meet face-to-face to transact their business. Unfortunately, multiple Brazos County agencies and businesses have invested in parks, sports and other entertainment facilities but never a permanent Farmers' Market pavilion.

Nearby Cameron has a small but attractive and functional permanent farmers' market pavilion that should shame the Bryan-College Station community. After working so hard for passage of SB 572, I am confident that the home of Texas Aggies can do much better than the existing temporary, make-do, farmers' market tents set up in parking lots and city streets.

This letter encourages readers to form coalitions to advocate for a permanent farmers' market pavilion that is a credit for the home community of Texas A&M and the headquarters of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A permanent pavilion should protect food producers and shoppers from weather year around and be designed for 40 or more years of useful life.

What will you do to join me in advocating for a functional and attractive farmers' market pavilion for local food producers and consumers that can become a model for other Texas communities?