Farmers’ Market partners review 2012 season

SEAFM logoSoutheast Area Farmers’ Market partners met Monday to review the 2012 market season and plan for 2013. Jill Myers, Kent County Health Department (KCHD), and Cynthia Price, Grand Rapids Food Systems Council (GGRFSC), sat down with the Our Kitchen Table (OKT) market staff for the discussion.

Challenges cited during 2012 were issues with the State-mandated iDevices used for Bridge card transactions; procuring enough vendors for Friday’s market; and road construction that necessitated moving the Garfield Park Saturday market to Gerald R Ford Middle School.

Successes included community engagement; great special events; being designated a Bundled Benefits site where residents register for government assistance; and relationships with G R Ford and MLK schools.

Vendor surveys indicated that one-third covered their expenses while two-thirds enjoyed a good profit. Their feedback is also influencing a change in the market structure. The partners are considering shifting to a Friday farm-stand at Garfield Park featuring one vendor and activities and, on Saturday, a full farmers’ market with several vendors at G R Ford.

OKT will continue to manage the market and provide staffing. GGRFSC will pay for insurance and the EBT back-up machine and bring in produce as needed. KCHD will continue to print flyers, distribute coupons and handle all governmental programs. All three partners will host monthly activities at the market.

Do you have suggestions for the 2013 Southeast Area Farmers’ Market? Email them to OKTjustice@gmail.org or mail them to OKT, 671 Davis NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

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