In related news
I think I forgot to share this fantastic article by local award-winning food writer Lisa Abraham in last Sunday’s Akron Beacon Journal. It’s about my
church market celebrating our 20th year as the pioneer producers only farmers market in the region and the huge mural project that’s currently being painted on the lintels of the Haymaker overpass bridge where the market is located.
The print edition has a series of beautiful color photographs that for some strange reason are not included in the online version. The mural has totally transformed a sort of blighted area of the city into a vibrant and friendly spot that’s causing traffic slowdowns when people stop to take pictures out of their car windows.
You can see some decent photos from the project in this Kent Patch slideshow.
I’m so proud of this community.
Cross that unpleasant managerial task off my list
I just sent out the “sorry, but we don’t have a spot available for you at the market this season” emails.
Hate to disappoint, but truth is we have more than enough cottage bakers and soap makers and our market isn’t trying to replicate Main St., so having downtown businesses that have storefronts a mere two blocks away setting up a table that could go to a farmer is just not our mission.
It’s interesting how people want to be part of the market, so they believe they should just be allowed in because of their enthusiasm. And it’s hard to say no to people who are clearly passionate about what they do, and about the market. I guess it’s a testament to what a great community asset it’s become, but we still need to keep to our vision and make our main priority strengthening the local food chain by incubating farmers.
I’m learning so much.
I’m so jazzed right now I’m levitating in my chair
One of my big goals for the farmers market is to open up access to everyone in our community by investing in a wireless EBT/SNAP and credit/debit card system. It’s expensive to set up, train vendors, and promote to the community. The money is not in this year’s budget and we unfortunately missed the 2011 grant rounds from USDA and ODA.
Tonight I presented to the board of directors for our local environmental council about the local food entrepreneur/community licensed kitchen project, the farm to school conference last month, and the market. I took a chance and told them that I’m seeking local funding to purchase the equipment and tokens, and asked if they had any suggestions for who to approach in our county so I can get it set up this year.
They funded it. On the spot. They’re giving the market up to $1500 to purchase the wireless device, the tokens, and marketing materials. It might even pay for my training. I just have to put a written proposal together next week and they’ll disburse the funds to the market.
I am beside myself with pride and happiness. Our 53 vendor market will be able to take food stamps this year. A large part of our population will be able to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, and even food producing plants for their gardens or window planters using their Ohio Directions Card. And the market will also be able to take credit/debit cards so people who didn’t think to bring more than a fiver can get those bushels of tomatoes for the salsa they suddenly need to make without having to drive anywhere.