[Market-farming] Friends of the Market Program

Carol W. Larsen sunborn at mhtc.net
Sun Oct 19 13:53:21 EDT 2008

Friend of the Market Programs
Our Market is large enough to generate the revenue we need for management,
venues and most of the advertising we do. However, a few years ago (5?) the
market managers started a "Friends of the Market" group primarily to address
the educational component needed to sustain and bolster sales of our market
products. First the organization tried to target vendors for fees to fund
the chef demos, hands on tomato seedling workshops etc that they came up
with. Vendors, being the frugal and time stressed people they are were and
are not the primary fund producing segment for  "Friends". The Market as
whole did give a start up donation of 1 - 2 thousand dollars. I can't
remember the exact amount 
The organization has been on shaky ground a few years but seems to have
found it's niche with a "School on the Square" ( we are located each
Saturday on the Capital Square in Madison, WI) that provides tastings, chef
demos and hands on workshops and educational signage thru out the summer,
usually about once a month. They have been successful in bringing families
to their tent for food fun. They also have bags and other modest items for
sale to raise funds during the winter markets.
The group is small but dedicated, and that is a problem when there is lots
to do and not enough funds or hands to do it. Leadership is important to
target groups that might be partners and give funding to the organization
and that has been a challenge. If education is a serious goal then grants
maybe available for this type of organization. BTW the Friends also procured
401c3 status early on. What they still need is a more visible and compelling
way to up their membership. To my knowledge there are no real 'perks' that
members get. 
Our market is a firm believer in the market paying its own way and the cost
of having a stall reflects that. We also have a market membership fee of
50.00 per year separate from the stall fee. One thing that always helps us
was the fact we do not have to pay for our wonderful central market place
all summer which is a donation from the State but the State will not allow
any other organization to sell anything, including memberships on this State
property so that hampers the Friends recruitment and fund raising.  
 To find out more about the Friends of the Dane County Farmer Market go to
Carol Larsen
Sunborn Gardens
Mount Horeb WI zone 4B

More information about the Market-farming mailing list