[Market-farming] rural markets

Errol Castens castens at nepower.coop
Wed Apr 18 14:25:14 EDT 2007

Lynn, I won't pooh-pooh all governmental/extension service help, but
encourage the others in your market to realize this market is THEIR baby,
not someone else's, and it's up to them to make it work.

In 2000 I visited with some farmers in a nearby county who were pushing
for some "program" to start a market for them. The next spring, volunteers
here got together with growers and set up a Saturday morning market in a
shopping center parking lot owned by a sympathetic businessman. In the
years since, it has been successful enough that Extension speakers refer
to it in glowing terms, encouraging others who want to start a market to
look at this one.

Meanwhile, the folks in that nearby county are still hoping someone will
come in and start a market for them.

If you're making a living at your farm stand, maybe helping operate the
farmers market is financially counterproductive for you. On the other
hand, maybe it's a form of missionary work or community service? (Just
asking, not telling.)

Errol Castens
Oxford, Mississippi

On Wed, April 18, 2007 11:23 am, Lynn Wigglesworth said:
> In Pennsylvania, the organizations that assist farmers' markets
> concentrate on the more populated areas. We are in a very rural area, and
> the message I hear over and over from Farmer and Farmers' Market groups is
> "that program hasn't gotten to your area yet". We started a new farmers'
> market last year and haven't gotten any help. Local, county, state
> government, cooperative extension...none have given much support. We have
> no funding (except what we get from vendors' fees), had to find our own
> location (we are not allowed on The Green in town), pay for advertising,
> print our own fliers, find vendors, make our own signs, etc. with no help.
> Running a farmers' market is a lot of work and out-of-pocket expenses; we
> had our own lives and farms to run. 'Market Manager' is an unpaid position
> in my market (vendors' fees barely paid for advertising), and I close down
> my own Farm Stand on Fridays to do the Farmers' Market, but never made
> more than $30-40 on a market day. And I'm doing it again this year (and
> wondering why).
> Lynn Wigglesworth
> Peasant Farmer
> Tioga County, PA

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