February 15, 2013 9:55:17 AM
Community development officials have picked the first members for the newly formed Starkville Community Market Advisory Board, and that group will hold its first meeting Feb. 27.
Greater Starkville Development Partnership officials began seeking volunteers for the new board in January after Starkville Main Street Association took control of the city's public market last year.
Jennifer Prather, Starkville Community Market manager and GSDP special events coordinator, confirmed 12 members and two ex officios will serve on the first board.
Advisory board members, she said, consist of volunteers with diverse backgrounds including agriculture, vending and those with previous market experience. That list includes: Dawn Autry, Kristen Dechert, Jimbo Hearnsberger, Greg Flint, Eric Lancaster, Isabel McLemore, Jay Reed, Bekah Sparks, Kenneth Thomas, Amelia Treptow, Rachael Varner and Julie White.
Chef Ty Thames will serve as a restaurant liaison, while Volunteer Starkville Director Jamey Matte will serve as the volunteer liaison.
Regular monthly meetings are scheduled through March, Prather said, as planning for 2013 SCM events begins.
During the board's first meeting, Prather said members are expected to pick a SCMAB president. Regular board members will serve three-year terms, and no member will serve more than two consecutive terms. The market advisory board president will serve as a voting member of the Starkville Main Street Association board.
Under SMSA's guidance, Prather said the market could develop more educational and entertainment exhibitions. Future markets, she said, could include cooking and gardening demonstrations, both following the farm-to-table concept. The market board will be charged with developing such ideas.
"We've already had many vendors calling for applications. Many of those are vendors who were not previously involved in the market," Prather said. "The Partnership's support should lend more success to the market than in the past. We have a diverse group of people who are passionate about this and will do a great job in developing our community market."
White, who works as a Mississippi State University Extension Office agent for Oktibbeha County, has served on a volunteer basis with SCM.
"As a county extension agent who focuses on agriculture, I wanted to be more active with local farmers and providing food to our community. I hope to have the opportunity to educate our community," she said. "There's an unlimited potential to work together with the community and promote this market."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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