AUGUSTA — Farmers who sell their goods at the Farmers’ Market at Mill Park will enlist their regular customers this week to try to win city officials’ support for a zoning change to allow the market to move to a vacant former church for the winter.

Their plan is to encourage their shoppers on Tuesday to attend a Planning Board meeting that night, not necessarily to testify, but as a show of support for the change.

The building where organizers of the farmers market hope to move for the winter, the former Elim Christian Fellowship church, at 70 State St., is in a zone where retail businesses are not allowed, so a move there would require a zone change.

City councilors agreed to send the issue to the Planning Board for a recommendation on whether zoning changes should be made to allow the move.

Vendors also plan to hand out buttons to customers, or anyone else attending the meeting, which say “I (heart) My Farmers’ Market: Farmers’ Market at Mill Park.”

They ordered about 100 of the buttons.

“We just wanted something that people could do so they could step into the Planning Board meeting and, without stepping up and talking, have a way to show their support for the farmers market,” said Kelby Young, of Olde Haven Farm in Chelsea, who serves as a liaison between the farmers market and the Augusta Downtown Alliance, which partners with the market.

“If we can get 30 or 50 volunteers, farmers, or just people who support the market, to show up to a planning meeting, I think that would be an overwhelming show of support that the community approves of the move.”

The market‘s organizers want to be in a winter home by the end of November. Young said they want to open at the new site for the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Young said he considers the former church a potential long-term fit as a winter home for the market, especially because it is near the market’s summer location and downtown Augusta, where it has a loyal customer base, and on the edge of the large west side neighborhood.

During the summer the market is located under the pavilion at the city’s Mill Park, on the edge of downtown. For the last few winters, it has moved indoors at various locations in the city.

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647, or at:

[email protected]