Last month the Helping Hands Grant from Community Foundation of North Central Washington enabled the Leavenworth Community Farmer’s Market (LCFM) to send one of our board members to the Washington State Farmer’s Market Association’s annual Conference, and I happened to be the lucky one.
As a first time conference attendee, I was taken aback by the amount of information, coordination, organization and support there was for something that seemed as simple as a farmer’s market. But then again, are they so simple? The fact that I was there to unravel the complexities and uncertainties our board struggled to define for our local market reinforced the purpose and importance of the WSFMA.
Even as a regular market customer, it can be difficult to see all the organization and effort needed to make the market happen each week. Issues markets must address and respond to every year vary from the logistical underpinnings of rules, regulations and insurance to simply contacting and communicating with vendors on a regular basis. Pile all this on a market and board that is in a state of transition and one finds themselves open for guidance.
And that’s exactly where I found myself last month as the LCFM board representative. The conference was held in Olympia, WA and provided a wide array of topics and issues that one may experience as a market board member, manager or farmer. Lectures ranged from fundraising and marketing, to how to keep vendors happy and market managers from burning out. The personal experiences from veteran market managers was invaluable, as was the wealth of networking and connections.
A HUGE THANK YOU to WSFMA and the Helping Hand’s Grant for creating this opportunity. The information gained from the conference will greatly influence our planning for this upcoming season in ways we hope will improve the overall market’s success.
Our little community constantly inspires me, and the LCFM is an important example of this. It is important to remember that, we, the customer and community, are just as important to the market’s success as any amount of organization, planning or networking a conference can provide. Without you, our market does not work. Who doesn’t enjoy going to a farmer’s market, chatting with friends, buying beautiful, nutritious food and feeling like you’ve made an impact in the lives of your fellow community members? Markets are a beautiful thing, and as a board we are excited to bring that beauty back to you this June.
LCFM Market Manager