Lehigh Farmers Market held every Saturday
A new community event was brought to Lehigh Acres the second week of January and it will continue every Saturday until the end of April.
Seth DeBartolo, who is an ordained pastor through Amigos En Cristo and was recently commissioned to work with Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Lehigh, saw that when people were laid off, they were finding things they wanted to do rather than had to do.
“One of the ways that I like to go into the community is simply to be and exist in the community,” he said. “As the opportunity arose people were looking for a place to show off their new-found interest.”
In December DeBartolo decided to ask a question: “Hey, do you want to start a farmers market?” on a community board. He received more than 1,000 responses. With the overwhelming response, he began researching how to go about starting a farmers market, as far as licensing and insurance goes.
He also wanted to find a physical location where individuals were allowed to share their goods, talents, skills and produce.
The market was launched on Jan. 16 after it took the month of December to come up with a strategic plan and obtain a license and permits.
The Lehigh Farmers Market will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday at 215 Richmond Ave. N. in Lehigh Acres. Right now there are 10 to 13 vendors a week with an average of 100 to 115 people in attendance.
DeBartolo is trying to bring EDT, the SNAP program to the farmers market, to cater to those financially strained during hard times.
“It is something we are trying to do to accommodate those around us,” he said. “We will continue the ministry of presence and help those in need.”
There are such items as handmade bags, crafts, glasswork, plants, jewelry, soaps, lotions, produce, honey and food trucks at the weekly farmers market. In addition, DeBartolo said they also want to grow awareness with animal rescues.
“The hope and envision is to have five food trucks, DJ, a bounce house perhaps, or inflatables and around 70 vendors to make it a fun time to enjoy the environment and area to help the local community and be together (while social distancing) and grow together,” he said.
Those interested in becoming a vendor can visit www.LehighFarmersMarket.com. The fee is $35.
“Hopefully the excitement will be contagious that we are still doing new things and continue to grow as we continue to team up with other organizations and programs. It’s not about me . . . it is so much about the community building the community and doing life together,” DeBartolo said.