An Important Letter
to the ABFM Community
We are both celebrating our 10th anniversary, and needing now to write with a hard truth: the future of the Acton-Boxborough Farmers Market is at risk, and it needs your help. We hope and expect that the ABFM can enter its second decade with renewed energy and enthusiasm! But to do that, the market needs folks to step up and volunteer for some critical functions.
A picture of what the ABFM has been
In 2008, Jenn pondered these questions as she rode the commuter rail home to Acton from her workplace in Boston: "Where's the closest farmers market?" And "Hey — why doesn't Acton have one?" Soon after, she convened a small group of local folks who wanted to provide better access to local food, and help promote a local, sustainable food system by bringing information and purchasing opportunities to the public. A year of planning began, and the ABFM’s first season launched in 2009.
In the ensuing decade, from June to October, Sunday mornings in West Acton have found Pearl Street transformed into a block party of sorts. Canopies pop up as local farmers unload their fresh vegetables, makers of all kinds of specialty food products arrange their wares and set up sampling stations, and local artisans assemble displays of their creative work. Soon, shoppers are strolling and sampling and buying — with live music in the background.
Dogs and kids galore are in the mix. A community table provides public education and enrichment. Neighbors meet up as folks arrive to shop and socialize. This farmers market has provided a wonderful community gathering that is the envy of other towns. It has been a success for market-goers, for vendors, and for the local economy. And it is loved by vendors and shoppers alike.
Now, after 11 years of hard work, the Leadership Board of the ABFM has determined that the market — with all of the devoted vendors, artisans, supporters, and loyal customers — needs to consider ending this amazing run. The ABFM will no longer be sustainable without new staffing, new board members, and help from those who love our market. In order to continue to serve our community with all that the ABFM has been, we need the commitment and energy of NEW people who are willing to join with members of the current team and see the market through the next amazing 10 years. The possibility of losing the market is profoundly sad for all of us, and we hope this will not come to pass.
At one point there were eight people on the farmers market board; for the last few years there were four; this year there are three. Three other valued volunteers manage bookkeeping, and coordinate performers and artisans. Of course, there are additional and wonderful volunteers who help on market days. But there is serious need for board members who are willing to do the behind-the-scenes work of: decision and policy making (including some in the off season); becoming skilled market managers; and bringing new vision and creativity to what the market can become.
The ABFM needs new folks with knowledge and skills in any of these areas (or who are willing to be trained):
• interaction with the public
• communication skills (writing, esp.)
• materials design and production
• website content management, and eblast generation and management
• creation of educational programs and materials
• basic knowledge of the food system (esp. for those who might be interested in working with the vendor community)
What you can do
We invite you to step forward and bring your energy and love of community to the market. If you have ever worked to create something special, you know that often it’s the combined efforts of many people that bring dreams to fruition. After the creation of something as wonderful as the ABFM, it is time for new people to help keep this institution a vital reality.
This email is a call to you — to dig a bit deeper into your time / desire / volunteer energy to help the ABFM continue to thrive. If you know someone(s) who might want to stretch their community muscles, please forward this email to them.
Please contact Missy, our Volunteer Coordinator, with your interest [volunteers@ABFarmersMarket.org]. We are eager to hear from you.
The ABFM Leadership Board