What’s been going on!
Into the furnace we go, had to happen sooner or later this summer and most appropriate the third week of July which is statistically the hottest of the year. We are starting at 7:00 these mornings to beat a bit of heat and are out of the field by noon everyday. You all stay cool.
I gave a fun talk yesterday to a group of Triangle Farmers’ Markets market managers some of whom are struggling with how to make their markets more sustainable and they were interested in how we manage to do it at Carrboro. Most new and small markets have very part time managers (like 10 hours a week) who have a hard time in building a market and market community.
For some reason I have become the unofficial historian of the Carrboro Market and did a deep dive into the chronology of how the market developed and critical points along the way. Now I will admit that Carrboro has had the benefit of 39 seasons to organically develop policies and solutions to problems that are common to most markets and that our success is in no small part due to the amazing customer base we have.
I do point to two original concepts that help make Carrboro more resilient and innovative. First when the Town gave governance of the market to the farmers instead of a group of towns folks it instilled a sense of ownership and responsibility that most vendors at markets do not have. Farmer run and farmer controlled, making decisions that make sense for the members not the economic development folks.
The second I have talked about many times before. Carrboro is the only market that requires the owner of the business to be there selling, this further deepens that ownership and pride of the market. When you just have an employee selling for you they don’t observe things that go on at market the same way, they don’t interact with the managers or the other vendors the same way, they don’t serve on committees or the board to help improve how the market operates. We have 80 plus small entrepreneurs all contributing ideas and solutions that make the market cooperative better that in turn benefits their individual businesses.
The result has been a thriving market place for the farmers, a gathering place for the Town of Carrboro and an important part of the economic engine for downtown Carrboro. We know we are fortunate to have such a market and never take it for granted.
Picture of the Week
Our first year at the old market, 32 years was a long time ago!
What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading