Bellevue's new farmer's market will connect community + food

Bellevue brings local produce to this growing Northern Kentucky community by starting its own farmer's market this April. The market will be centrally located at the Party Source's parking lot on Wednesdays and Saturdays and feature up to 28 local vendors.

Market founder, Laine Steelman, brings a unique perspective to the market - he studied for three years in Northern Italy and received a bachelor's degree in Gastronomical Science. Steelman says his degree looks at the food system from a holistic approach and other aspects including sociology, economics, and anthropology.

"I think it's logical to bring local food to the community," Steelman explained. "We've become really removed from our food, not knowing where it comes from or who is making it. Knowing where our food comes from, I think, is one of the best pleasures in life."

Originally from California, Steelman worked in the restaurant business for ten years working for and supporting local farms. Through a family connection, Steelman received an offer from the City of Bellevue to connect local producers with the local consumers in their community.

"In this period with the economic downturn, it's logical to support a local economy because there are not a lot of hidden costs and more transparency. We are now giving people access to local and sustainable food." Steelman said.

Jody Robinson, assistant city administrator of Bellevue, believes the market will help Bellevue residents reconnect with locally sourced food and hopes to eventually grow it into a larger project.

"Our goal is to really grow into a nonprofit organization to offer more than just a farmer's market. We want to be place that offers education and local healthy food options right off the farm into people's shopping baskets. We want to reconnect people with real food," Robinson said.

A farmer's market is not only a place to shop, but also a social gathering place for the community, Robinson explained. It is a place for people to slow down from their fast pace lives and have a conversation and learn about food. Robinson and Steelman hope to host different events and lectures on food education to reinforce the connection between a community and its food.

"The ultimate goal is to highlight and mend the disconnection in this area between local producers and the consumer," Steelman said.

Writer: Lisa Ensminger
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