Volunteer to support local food

Neighborhood Roots Winter Farmers Market
Neighborhood Roots Winter Farmers Market

Why would someone start volunteering for their local farmers market?

In my case, I was a recent stay-at-home mom to three kids under 3, and I needed something to get me out of the house and make me feel like a valued part of the outside world.

The previous summer, my first living in Fulton, going to the farmers market was a highlight of my week. It was something we could easily do as a family: a beautiful walk over, then food, fun, new neighbors and time spent outdoors awaited us.

When I saw a post on Nextdoor looking for board members for Neighborhood Roots, the organization that brings the Kingfield, Fulton and Nokomis farmers markets to South Minneapolis, I was excited and hoped it would be a good fit. What I got was so much more than I had hoped.

Like any good volunteer opportunity should be, it is a great place to meet people and have fun. You are working toward the same goal, so you most likely have things in common, and there are plenty of chances for fun. One of the best things about having a farmers market in your neighborhood is it cultivates community, and the core of that community is the volunteers.

Shopping at a farmers market gives you a chance to buy directly from the hands of the farmers and producers of the food you eat. This is a unique, wonderful way to do business. Volunteering for the markets is a way to make that relationship even closer, as we learn more about where our food comes from and the people who make and grow it.

In addition to being a place for farmers to sell their food, the markets serve as a new business incubator, and many vendors go on to have local storefronts. People with a dream for a new business or trying out a new food trend come to the market as a first step, and being a part of their dream is rewarding and exciting. As we get involved, we can hope they make it big and we can say, “We knew them when.”

While the outdoor market season is coming to a close, the work of Neighborhood Roots is just heating up.

We do most of our planning and fundraising during the winter months. We also have our four winter markets at Bachman’s on Lyndale, which is a great place to get your first hands-on volunteering experience while enjoying a little slice of summer inside the greenhouse.

Volunteering for the markets is a great way to grow a new skill set, too. Want to get experience in marketing, IT, social media, writing, working with kids, fundraising or graphic design? Whatever skill set you want to develop, chances are the markets can find a place to use it.

We need volunteers for set up and tear down, tabling, sampling and other day-of market tasks, as well as people to serve on our committees and board of directors. We are always looking for new energy and ideas. Time commitments can vary depending on how involved you want to be.

Our markets are for our community and cannot be done without our community. People on many levels are what make our markets work.

If you have any questions about what is involved you can email [email protected], go to our website at neighborhoodrootsmn.org or stop by and talk to one of the friendly faces at our market info booths to learn more about how your local Neighborhood Roots markets can fill both your belly and your life.

Sasha Jensen is the current board chair for Neighborhood Roots and lives in Fulton with her husband and three daughters. She can be found in local parks, schools, shops and, of course, the farmers market

Fulton Farmers Market

49th & Chowen

Saturdays 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Last day of the season is Oct. 27th.


Kingfield Farmers Market

43rd & Nicollet

Sundays 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Last day of the season is Oct. 28th.


Winter Markets

Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Ave.

  • Sunday, Nov. 11
  • Saturday, Jan. 26
  • Saturday, Feb. 23
  • Saturday, March 23

Winter Market events run 9 a.m.­–1:30 p.m.