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The Waccamaw Market Cooperative: Spice Up Your Shopping

“Every time you visit the market, you will have a new experience!” Executive Director, Samantha Tipton continued, “The harvest changes day to day so you’re really getting the freshest local product you can, picked at the peak of freshness (and not flown). When you spend your hard-earned dollars with local vendors at the market, you are keeping your money in the community. Cutting out the middleman means that the producer or creator gets to keep more of the money to continue their work. Our members truly feel like family, and they work hard to create items and events you want to keep coming back to and continue supporting.”

The Waccamaw Market Cooperative (WMC) was the brainchild of a Clemson Extension Agent, Blake Landford, around 2009. Before it became the Cooperative it is today, it was originally founded as the Conway Farmers Market. Blake recognized the need when he heard of local residents looking for fresh produce on a regular basis and heard of smaller farmers who were looking for help to get their products out to residents. So, under the Clemson Extension belt, the Conway Farmers Market was born as a reoccurring weekly farmers market under the Main Street bridge. It was an immediate hit, and it didn’t take long for surrounding areas along the Grand Strand to want the same opportunity. Over time, it has changed into a Cooperative of multiple market locations and has grown to need its own non-profit staff.

The mission of WMC is to coordinate and manage community-based farmer’s markets throughout Horry and Georgetown Counties. WMC includes a regional network of markets sponsored in partnership with public and private organizations. The vision has always been simple; connect Grand Strand residents to local growers, producers, artisans, and makers by way of consistent and reoccurring family-friendly markets sprinkled throughout the region.

Growing well beyond fresh produce and prepared foods, the WMC members also offer their crafty creations for a fair price. Experiencing the quality of the goods and the authenticity of the services provided by our local growers and makers is the best way to shop. The businesses involved in this cooperative showcase local honey, farm fresh eggs, meats, baked goods, artisanal soaps, potted plants, cut flowers, knife sharpening services, natural dog treats, handmade jewelry, coffee, pottery, woven baskets, kombucha, gourmet popcorn, hand-poured candles, and many more!

Successful markets create numerous benefits that directly help grow and connect urban and rural communities. From increasing access to fresh food to providing important revenue streams, markets positively impact local businesses, governments, and residents. Markets serve as public gathering places where people from different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic communities can connect and learn from one another in a uniquely curated atmosphere.

Instagram: @waccamawmarkets
Facebook: Waccamaw Market Cooperative

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