By Jacob Sturm
Wildhorse Gardens and Market has returned for its seventh year, with the market being open from 8 a.m. until noon each Saturday and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
The Wildhorse Gardens and Market, formerly known as the Kiwanis Community Garden and Farmers Market, started in 2009 and is run by volunteers. It is a 501(c)(3) organization that is based on both educational and charitable purposes.
They provide food to those in need and seek to demonstrate agricultural and horticultural techniques to all ages. That includes teaching children where vegetables come from and to provide adults with a safe place to learn gardening skills.
Susan Dobbins, the President of the Wildhorse Gardens and Market, said the market moved to the park in 2015 when it became a separate entity from the Kiwanis Club.
“The garden has remained pretty much the same, but the farmers market just keeps growing,” Dobbins said. “The community garden is an all volunteer effort, and we moved over to Wild Horse at the request of the city.”
The city supplies the land and the water for the group. Dobbins estimated they have 30-35 volunteers who run the garden and the market.
When the project started, it was part of a Kiwanis project. Anybody could volunteer to help the members maintain the market. When they went to the city per the city request, they incorporated Kiwanis through the Board of Directors. The Club currently has members on the board.
The three board positions are split between the Canadian County Master Gardeners, the Parks and Recreation Department and Kiwanis.
Members of the Wildhorse Gardens and Market work with members of other local garden clubs at least on the gardening side of the organization.
“We all interact and intersect and overlap,” Dobbins said.
Dobbins thinks the market continues to grow at a quick rate due to the knowledge more people in the community are getting that it exists. She said the more customers and vendors that learn about it, the more they want to be a part of it.
They have had at least 20 vendors all summer long. Those vendors sell everything from local produce to baked goods and jellies. There are some craft vendors that participate, too.
For those interested in volunteering for the Wildhorse Gardens and Market, go to their Facebook page or wildhorsegardensandmarket.org. There will be a place to sign up and get the emails for the members.
“The past couple of years have taught us how delicate the food chain is,” Dobbins said. “And so, the farmers market, any farmers market in particular for our people here in Canadian County, it gives you the chance to meet the people that grow your food.”