The first time I sold at the Kingfield Farmers Market in 2015, it was one of the first few markets of the season. I brought plant starts and early season veggies — and I cried. I cried standing at my booth watching community members reconnect after a long, reclusive winter. I cried watching kids dance to the music at the market and run around free in a place in which they were clearly at home. It was amazing. At that point I had already been selling at Fulton for four seasons and had managed to forget about the farmers market warm fuzzies.
They were reignited recently at the Neighborhood Roots markets in a different way. I am no longer a vendor, but I am now the manager of the Fulton, Nokomis and Kingfield farmers markets. It is now my job to manage day-to-day logistics and to engage with community members in a different way. I now know what goes into curating a market, and putting together all of the tiny-but-important pieces that must come together for 64 market days each outdoor season. In this new role, I also have more of an opportunity to appreciate that sense of community that manifests itself at a neighborhood farmers market.
Walking around the farmers market, the warm fuzzies can overtake me at any moment: When I see a family on their way to the market join a yoga class at Fulton, and then hear that they didn’t realize it but their family just needed to move together that morning. Or when I hear from vendors how excited they are about the success of “x” crop and how great they felt after an awesome market day. Or when I have customers offer to bring me books about dealing with 3-year-olds. Or when I read books during story time at Fulton and get to know the kids who come week after week by name. Or when I see Emma, our assistant market manager, run into and reconnect with people she’s known through her work in political activism or at a dog-rescue facility or through another part of her life. Or when I have community members come up to the info booth and say, “I love this market! How can I become more involved?”
Three times a week our neighborhoods turn empty parking lots into bustling spaces of community and local commerce. It’s a big deal, and thank you for making it happen!
The community that is cultivated at farmers markets is tangible, and feeds us all.