Arkansas State University will rename its farmer’s market, the Judd Hill Farmer’s Market, and there are multi-million dollar plans to expand. The Judd Hill Foundation will provide about $2.4 million for a Farmer’s Market expansion, which will be built adjacent to the current space.
The existing space will be doubled by the addition of a second building that adds indoor spaces, classroom facilities and other amenities to expand the operations of the Farmers’ Market.
“We are very appreciative of the support from the Judd Hill Foundation and the leadership of former Board of Trustees member Mike Gibson in this highly impactful plan,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “The new building and the expanded role of the Judd Hill Foundation Farmers’ Market is an excellent example of how we are striving to meet our Discover 2025 strategic plan goals. This will certainly expand and improve our community outreach through the Farmers’ Market, but it also creates new teaching and research opportunities with very direct connections to real-world applications.”
The new facility will extend the ability of the operation to sell more weekends of the year, as well as provide the opportunity for student-based products, educational outreach and other agri-business entrepreneurial projects to have a home on the A-State University Farm, helping to fulfill its agricultural teaching and research role for the college.
“At this new facility, our college will work on agricultural related challenges in the Delta region through hands-on learning and bring those solutions to the market place through entrepreneurial efforts,” Dean of Agriculture Mickey Latour said. “This expansion of our existing facility provides us with the tools necessary to make these advancements.”
Through the funding from the agreement, a new building will be constructed adjacent to the existing open-air market barn. Among the opportunities planned within the proposed building are classroom and research space that provides hands-on activities for students.
Established in 2006, the regional Farmers’ Market is celebrating its 15th year of operation for the upcoming 2021 season. Started as a collaborative between ASU and the non-profit East Arkansas Resource Conservation and Development (EARCD), the original open-air structure created a space where farmers could bring locally grown and sourced products. Named the Arkansas Best Market Partner in 2016, the current Farmers’ Market has been a seasonal fixture of Northeast Arkansas.
The Judd Hill Foundation was created after the death of Mrs. Esther Hill Chapin in 1991 to establish a legacy for her family. Named for her father, the Judd Hill Foundation’s mission is to create a perpetual benefit to the family’s native Poinsett County and the region, particularly through supporting educational and agricultural pursuits. Former ASU System Board of Trustees member Mike Gibson has served as the trustee of the Judd Hill Foundation since its inception.