Volunteers Strengthen Saratoga Farmers’ Market Community

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By Himanee Gupta-Carlson

 

The core of any community is its people. At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, that community includes farmers, of course. But it also includes the market’s staff and its volunteer group Friends of the Market. This year with the market’s 40th anniversary, the Friends are eager to welcome more volunteers.

The Friends’ mission is to work with shoppers and vendors to help the market thrive. Over the years, as the market has grown, the Friends’ activities have branched out from primarily operating a veggie valet service to several market and community projects that include a compost drop site, a food pantry partnership, and media outreach.

New volunteers are expanding the Friends’ goals further.

Ann Haden, for instance, is helping to launch a cooking class for Skidmore students. She recently spent an evening with market director Julia Howard at the Lake Avenue Elementary School working with children to identify vegetables, including celeriac, which the kids figured out smelled like celery but did not look at all like it.

“Volunteering with the Friends of the Market is an opportunity to expand the virtues of going to the farmers’ market,” says Haden. “Sharing the experience of obtaining products directly from the farmer/vendor, having discussions about products and the community feeling at the market is a worthy investment of my time.”

Haden’s enthusiasm highlights the vital energy volunteers bring to the market. As Howard notes, “We want to make sure that the time volunteers give us is well spent at the farmers’ market. We will provide training and an on-site orientation so that newcomers can meet our vendors and other volunteers. They will contribute to the farmers’ market in a big way.”

For farmers, the market is a rejuvenating day. They get to leave their farms and interact with the community. These relationships speak to why farming is vibrant: it centers on food, family, and friends.

Is volunteering at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for you? One way to answer that question is to ask yourself: Are you passionate about local foods? Do you want to learn more about local farming? Are you free for an hour or two at least once a month?

If your answers are yes, join us. Contact us at friends@saratogafarmersmarket.org.  

Visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.