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Kelly Steuhm, left, with her daughter Kayla Roberts, right, pick through a box of sweet corn during the Farmer's Market at the RiverLoop Expo in Waterloo, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010. (TIFFANY RUSHING / Courier Staff Photographer)

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Main Street Waterloo has turned over the reins to the downtown Waterloo Farmers' Market to RiverLoop Public Market Co-op.

Julie Kiefer, who coordinates the nonprofit Public Market, said the shift gives her and the co-op board opportunities to work with suppliers for both the store and the farmers market.

"It's going to be a nice complement to the co-op," she said. "We will also be able to give some of those farmers another outlet for their produce other than the market twice a week."

Jeff Kurtz, executive director of Main Street Waterloo said the transfer makes sense for both organizations. Running the market is a better fit for the co-op than Main Street, he said.

Main Street Waterloo had planned, staffed and organized the market selected farmers and vendors, planned events there and coordinated publicity. Those duties will now fall to the Public Market board.

"With all the direction Main Street is going in, (the farmers' market) was probably not receiving the attention it deserved," Kurtz said.

Terry Poe Buschkamp, former director of Main Street Waterloo from 1998 through 2008 who now works at the Iowa Main Street office, said it was time control of the market was passed on to another organization.

Main Street inherited operation of the market from the Waterloo Downtown Council --- one of the four organizations that eventually became Main Street Waterloo. The market was a tool to draw traffic into downtown, Buschkamp said. There also weren't other nonprofit organizations in downtown able to take it over, she added.

"It's a natural outgrowth," she said of the transfer.

The downtown farmers' markets will still be at the RiverLoop expo next to the Public Market building Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings. Kiefer said it's early to talk about next year's markets, but doesn't plan any major changes at this point.

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