Board member and treasurer, Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets
As treasurer of the Kingfield Farmers Market and its new spin-off, the Fulton Farmers Market, David Brauer knows the numbers, and the numbers look good: In its debut season, Fulton is already drawing nearly as many people as Kingfield did last summer, its 10th season.
It’s a rewarding feeling for Brauer, who has been spending more time volunteering for the farmers markets during a bit of a break from journalism, his main gig for the past three decades or so. After a health scare this spring, the local media columnist for MinnPost (and former editor of this paper) decided it was time to “push away from the computer [and] push away from the Internet, as hard as that is for me to do.”
Brauer’s involvement with the Kingfield Farmers Market goes back to its very beginnings. He was president of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association when Don Roberts, father of chef Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma and Brasa fame, first proposed a market for the neighborhood.
Roberts and his partner, Joni Cash, lived in Kingfield but maintained a farm in Wisconsin, and when the market opened in 2001 they sold vegetables from one of the just six or eight stalls clustered in a parking lot at Nicollet & 42nd. It eventually outgrew both that location and its status as a neighborhood organization committee, and when the market went independent, Brauer became a founding board member.
In the spring and early summer, the demands of the position amount to nearly a full-time job. But it’s work that brings balance to Brauer’s life and tangible rewards every weekend, when gleaming vegetables and beaming customers fill the markets.
“When you’re a journalist, a lot of times what you do makes people angry or sad; you’re telling people news they’d rather not read,” he said. “And when you do a farmers market right, you’re making a lot of people happy, so, for me, it was a real complement to my professional work.”