First Market Day

acg at austin.rr.com acg at austin.rr.com
Sat Jul 8 21:17:07 EDT 2000


Marie, sounds like you had a realistic first day at a one version of an
established farmers market.  I have a few words of explanation for you.

First, don't expect that bringing your produce, which is competition, will
always be viewed as a positive addition by the other farmers - particularly
if you have the same produce and lower prices.  Second, the fact that it's
your first market and that you state you have the resources to give your
crops away or use them for compost indicates you may not be at the farmers
market to make a living.  Some of the farmers you interacted with may have
been farming and selling for years - 7/24 as the techies in Austin say, 7
days a week, 24 hours a day - and this is their only source of income and
they can be pretty protective.  Third, just because farmers sell at a
farmers' market, doesn't mean they value "community."  The market just
happens to be the place they can sell their produce for the best price -
being nice to the other vendors is not part of the contract.

I am not trying to excuse their rude behavior, I have experienced it myself
as I sell the produce we raise at Austin Community Gardens (ACG) and it does
hurt  Some markets accept new folks immediately and some never do.  ACG gets
slammed because we are a nonprofit, therefore the belief is we have another
salary paying us while we "dabble" at farming, and this is partly true.  So
for now, we focus our organic produce sales in low-income neighborhoods
where no one else wants to sell and therefore provide a valuable service to
neighborhoods that do not have access to fresh, nutritious produce.  We have
found our niche and it works well for us.  We are also selling our produce
directly to restaurants.

Don't give up if farming is your dream.  Your work is to sell fresh,
nutritious produce to the public - focus on that.

Terri Buchanan
Executive Director
Austin Community Gardens



----- Original Message -----
From: Marie Kamphefner <kampy at grm.net>
To: market farming <market-farming at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2000 1:01 PM
Subject: First Market Day


> Hello,
>
> The First Market Day is over and I will never do it again.  It was a
DISASTER!
>
> We were the first ones to arrive and we parked, waiting to go into the
> market area at the designated time.  When we finally were allowed in, we
> went to the spot where the market master had shown us last week.  We
> unloaded the truck, starting putting out signs and bagging the veggies.
> Then a lady with a truckload of stuff arrived yelling that we were in her
> spot.  She goes to the assistant market master and he comes and very
rudely
> tells us to move it one way or another.  We moved the truck over a few
> feet.  She zooms into the spot next to us and starts slamming stuff
around,
> setting up.  She was late.  The assistant market master then wants money.
> We paid for the season last week and told him that.  He wanted to know who
> we were and we told him.  He says "Oh yeah, the market master told me
about
> you Wednesday."  All the time we were there, he kept walking past, glaring
> at us.  Nobody ever parked in the two spots on the other side of the lady
> (and I use the term loosely).  None of the other vendors would even talk
to
> us.  We left early with a flat tire.  Then a few of the vendors hollered
to
> us about the flat tire.  THEY COULD SPEAK AFTER ALL!   I think it was the
> worst three hours I ever spent even though we did sell some stuff.  I'm
not
> going back.  I'll give it away or make compost of our crop before I go
back.
>
> Marie in Missouri
>
>
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