The Sally Frank’s Farmers’ Market is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. Since 2010, it has developed from a small event behind City Hall into a well recognized community event. In addition to bringing fresh, Massachusetts-grown produce and locally made food to the community in a fun environment, it takes place in a location that is convenient and welcoming. People from Melrose and beyond come to choose from a host of market offerings, hear music, and have their children play in a wholesome environment while supporting local farmers and food producers. Sustaining this community attraction has been demanding, with the majority of the responsibility being assumed by a few dedicated people.
We are now at a cross roads where we have to decide how to continue organizing and running the farmers’ market. The current market is primarily organized by one volunteer – myself – with 30 others who have volunteered to help out when they can. After 6 years of being the primary organizer, I can now no longer put the time into the farmers’ market that it deserves. I’m looking for other people to pick up the baton and continue this worthwhile community event.
The next steps will take on 2 directions, both of which need help from others interested in seeing the market continue. First, we still have to run the farmers’ market this year. I’ve broken down the work into several manageable efforts, each of which can be taken on by one person and only require a few hours each month. Maybe there is a young parent who needs some diversion time who can work off-line between other family requirements. Or maybe a parent whose kids are just finishing high school and who now has a bit of free time on their hands. Or maybe, someone who is retired. Efforts include farm & food vendor coordinator, musicians coordinator, non-profit coordinator, business table coordinator, artisan table coordinator, volunteer coordinator, events coordinator, media & marketing, and the newsletter.
Second, for 2017 and beyond, we will plan out how the farmers’ market should be run for the future. I have develop a Strategy/Planning Committee to review how the market should run in the future. The farmers’ market has developed a small savings since 2010 with which it can think about options, including the possibility that it not be solely a volunteer effort in the future. Here’s a link to the Treasurer’s Report for last summer’s market as well as last winter’s. Our end of year 2015 total account balance was $15,280, which has accrued gradually over the last 6 years from donations, grants and vendor fees from the market.
For the future we will think about whether we should hire someone to run the farmers’ market. If we do hire someone, what exactly do we ask them to do? Do we need to seek grants to pay someone? Should it remain an all-volunteer organization? Do we need to cut some things out that we are doing because we just can’t handle it? The committee will look at options for how the farmers market should operate. If you have anything to offer or would like to be part of the committee, please email me. The next Strategy/Planning Committee meeting is Thur., Jan. 28, at 7pm.
I am grateful to those who have helped grow the market over the past 6 years. Now, let’s take the Melrose farmers’ market to the next level.