2015 – No Summer Market

There will be no 2015 summer market. The most recent market manager explains:

Dear Friends, Vendors, and Patrons of the Walpole Farmers Market (WFM),

I wanted to send this message out to all of you, so that everyone would have an idea of what the status is for the Walpole Farmers Market in 2015. Just to review, in 2014, the market saw very little growth, if anything I think that there was a decline in patrons, basically there never seemed to be much of a crowd. Despite that we all still made some sales, but quite honestly, I don’t think any of us made the kind of sales that you could describe as sustainable.

At the end of the season, as the Market Manager, I started thinking about what could be done to fix or change this. I had some conversations with some of the vendors, with Jill Robinson, and some of the other vendors that helped to establish the Walpole Farmers Market. The conclusion that I came to was that as it was currently put together, the WFM would not survive, and we needed to look at either closing the market, or really changing the way it does business. There will not be a summer 2015 WFM market, but there is the possibility of restructuring the market for a re-launch in 2016.

There are several critical things that need to be addressed.

1. A structure of some kind needs to be put together. Volunteer Coordinators are great, but having volunteered countless hours for the WFM there is true burn out, a working board with members knowing that they could come on and then go off on a regular basis makes better sense

2. Guidelines should be reviewed and reworked

3. A workable time and place need to be considered

On the question of location, we do have a very generous offer from Tedd Benson to make use of the field space near the Ice Cream Scoop Shop. This site would eventually become the home for the Great River Food Co-op. It would make sense if the WFM could make use of this space. As the Co-op is developed, the WFM could dovetail into that plan. Or we can stay put on the common, the town is supportive of that. But to do that in 2016 will mean some changes too.

As you know, Jill Robinson stepped aside last year, and I would now also like to step aside as Market Manager. Jill and I are willing to be the “keepers of the WFM gear” (Bank account, EBT stuff, tents, tables, website with vendor contact information). For the market to move forward at this point, other folks, both vendors and shoppers, need to step forward to shoulder some of the responsibilities in crafting a new plan for the market.

Clai Lasher was a vendor with produce last summer, and she is very interested in supporting the WFM through this transitional period. The board members of the Great River Food Co-op are also willing to help if they can. If you would like to see the WFM return and are willing to help make it happen, please let me know.

And just so you know, I have booked the Common for Saturday November 21st, in conjunction with the church Christmas fairs. I will also see about a date in December inside the town hall if there is interest. I am happy to coordinate these two opportunities for the WFM. Hopefully, by that time, if we have a solid plan in place it would be a great time to start letting folks know what 2016 will look like for the Walpole Farmers Market.

We will retain the WFM website, with vendor contact information. Any vendor who has participated in the market is invited to visit the vendor page and check whether their contact information is current. Past vendors who no longer appear on the page and would like to be added are invited to send their contact information in the format: name of business, website, town and state of business, a short summary of your goods, name of the person vending, email for the person vending, and a phone number. Send this information to jill@walpolefarmersmarket.com.

Thank you for your interest in the Walpole Farmers Market.

With best regards,

Holly Gowdy
holly@walpolefarmersmarket.com

One response to “2015 – No Summer Market

  1. Alison Jensen

    Just as an FYI, last summer (2014) we were new or should I say re-new to Walpole, having a few old time friends still in town I had asked “what’s wrong with the WFM, the turnout is so low?” It was very evident that there was an effort to make it work….. The answer was “Cliquey” some folks had asked about presenting their wares and were denied. If this in fact has any substance, well word gets around in a small community and damage is done. Even w/o merit, as we all know perception is people’s reality. If there is to be a successful WFM, embrace the local vendors, large or small, known or unknown, & encourage all participants. Thank you. Respectfully submitted. Alison Jensen

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