Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Calling all farmers market lovers

We need your help to make the Phinney Farmers Market thrive
by Cheryl Klotz

I love our farmers market. Almost every Friday from June to October, my neighbor and I head to the Phinney Farmers Market for our weekly ritual—to buy veggies and have dinner. Sometimes we linger to enjoy visiting with friends and neighbors.

Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets (SNFM) has partnered with PNA since 2007, operating the weekly farmers market each summer. The farmers market clearly benefits the neighborhood and the PNA community in many ways: bringing local healthy produce to the neighborhood, connecting us with local farmers, bringing people to the PNA and neighboring businesses, and creating a fun, family-friendly weekly community gathering. 

No matter how well it serves the community, a farmers market can’t thrive if its vendors aren’t making money and organizers aren’t covering costs. Like any other business or PNA program, when expenses and efforts outweigh benefits, it makes sense to turn those resources elsewhere.  If the market were to disappear, PhinneyWood would lose a much beloved weekly institution.

Unlike some of the bigger markets that SNFM runs, like the U-District, which brings people in from all over the City, Phinney has always been a neighborhood market that serves people living primarily in Phinney and Greenwood. Attendance was on the rise for a while, but has declined in the last few years, as have sales. In 2015, SNFM ended up subsidizing the Phinney Farmers Market with $9,000. 
Even though attendance is less than optimal, PhinneyWood residents enjoy close relationships with the vendors, who praise the laid-back “vibe” of the market. But the reality is farmers need to sell produce so they can leave with an empty truck and a full wallet.

We, as a neighborhood, benefit greatly from the Phinney Farmers Market. If we want this valuable community institution to continue, we must take action. I have heard many ideas for how to close the market revenue gap--including a ‘round up for the market’ campaign, business sponsorships, or opening a beer garden at the bottom of the slides. Help save our market – we need your ideas, efforts and investment.
  • Join the Friends of the Phinney Farmers Market.
  • Devise strategies for making our market viable.
  • Take action to leverage community resources to help our market thrive. 
  • Buy more of your weekly produce here at Phinney Farmers Market.
  • Make it your Friday ritual.
  • Bring friends! 
  • Sponsor the market. Help cover the operating cost gap so we can keep the market in Phinney!
  • Make a directed donation to the PNA or SNFM  to support the Phinney Farmers Market.
To get involved in the Friends of the Phinney Farmers Market or to learn more, contact PNA Program Director Joanne Conger at joannec@phinneycenter.org.