CALUMET - The Calumet Farmers & Artisans Market in Agassiz Park just finished its first outdoor season, and now the vendors have moved indoors to the lobby of the former Merchants and Miners Bank building.
The market is an effort of Main Street Calumet, which just received a $29,089 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Tom Tikkanen, Main Street Calumet executive director, said he and other MSC staff applied for the grant in July, so he's pleased approval came so quickly.
"It's pretty awesome," he said.
Tikkanen said the grant money will used mostly for supplies and equipment, but also for personnel to support the market.
In a written statement about the USDA grants to nine Michigan communities, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, said they will benefit growers and customers.
"These grants will help rural and urban farmers markets across the state," Levin wrote. "This is good news for farmers, who will be able to expand their outreach into the communities they serve, and it's good news for Michiganians, who will benefit from better access to fresh food in their local farmers markets."
Although this was the first year for the Farmers & Artisans Market, Tikkanen said he's pleased with it, particularly because of its ability to get people to connect with each other.
"It's been an opportunity to become more engaged with the community," he said.
The indoor version of the market operates from 2 to 6 p.m. every Friday, Tikkanen said. There will be ongoing discussions about growing produce through the winter, and at some time there will be a community forum for the farmers market and the local sustainable food effort.
Tikkanen said the move indoors doesn't seem to have hurt the market.
"The response has been good," he said.
In the 1960s, Tikkanen said there was a large food-growing effort, and food was actually exported from the Calumet area, and he hopes the market will spur that kind of an effort again, even something as small as an apartment window garden.
"There's an opportunity here for the Copper Country to establish itself in a rediscovered industry," he said.