Do you love farmers’ markets, but can’t always make it on Saturdays? Starting this spring, you’ll have another weekday option to support local farms! Last fall, Franklin Community Co-op launched an internship program in partnership with Greenfield Community College, designed to start a new Tuesday afternoon/evening farmers’ market in downtown Greenfield.
Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Kanabay conceived of the new market initiative and internship as a way to offer an alternative farmers’ market structure to small0scale new farms. The market is staffed by students, and unsold goods are purchased by community partners for use in their social service organizations. This relieves newer farms of the burden of having to find market staff and ensures that food waste is significantly reduced.
It was recently announced that this program, in an expanded partnership with CISA, was the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Rural Community College Alliance, which will fund the student positions and enable the expansion of the program to other community colleges. Additional work is in place to explore the creation of a co-operative of western Massachusetts farmers’ markets, both within the internship program and in partnership with the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance and CISA. It’s the hope of the co-op, and of the College, that this opportunity will aid and foster farm entrepreneurship in Franklin County and beyond, and help food co-operatives in other communities identify and support new local vendors as they grow their businesses. It’s also the co-op’s hope that this new zero-food-waste model for farmers’ markets will remain a key component of the implementation of the program in other communities, ensuring wider access to healthy, local food within those locations.
The new Tuesday market will feature vendors of meat, produce, herbs, honey, clothing, and wool, and will begin in April, 1-6 p.m. weekly in the alley next to Green Fields Market. We hope to see you there!