By Kim Richmond
President, Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market Board
As we step out into 2023, the staff and Board of the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market are excited to be preparing for another great season.
Most of the hours it takes to open and run the Market is time donated by our Board and community volunteers, and planning starts as soon as the Holiday Market is done in early November. Which means a lot of meetings, phone calls, grant writing, securing permits, creating marketing plans, and balancing what we want to do with the resources we have. Market Director Susie Novak spends the early months of the year recruiting vendors, sponsors and employees, and visiting farms. She and board members attend the annual Washington State Farmers Market Association conference in February to connect with markets state-wide. We do all this so we can bring you a vibrant Market, with a strong focus on farms and farm-to-consumer products. This year, weíre excited to bring you themed days including Celebrating Seniors, National Farmers Market Week, Kidís Day, Dog Daze, Harvest Festival and more.
The pandemic challenged all of us, including the Market. I am grateful the City of Des Moines and State Department of Health for finding ways to keep us and the other 113 Washington State markets open through 2020. Although we were limited to farms on at first, this actually allowed us to get refocused on why the Market exists ñ to bring Washington farmers and our community together for the benefit of both. In the process of fulfilling our mission, the Market, under its current leadership, has attracted new vendors (cheese anyone?!), and you can look forward to a continued exciting mix of farms, food and crafts.
Thank you to our community for supporting the Market and all the things we are already doing to support Food Justice. As a member of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, we follow this organizationís Roots guidelines (www.wsfma.org). Hereís an overview of what the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market does:
- Farms: average of 11 farms per market day, who reported over $200,000 in revenue in 2022 (52% growth from 2019 to 2022)
- Food: showcasing Washington bakeries and chefs, including food trucks
- Crafts: bringing a rotating selection of handmade arts and crafts to the Market weekly
- Community Partners: hosting the Des Moines Area Food Bank Summer Meals program, transit and utility outreach, Master Gardeners, Mt Rainier High School (go Rams!) and many others
- Events: including Celebrating Seniors Day, Dog Daze, Harvest Festival, and cross-marketing with community events like International Coastal Cleanup
- Support Programs: we participate in the SNAP/Market Match (formerly FreshBucks) program, redeeming more than $8,000 spent with our farmers for this program in 2022 (54% more than in 2019), and manage our own King Conservation District/City of Des Moines low-income Senior program which gave more than $12,000 in direct benefit to King County seniors (10% increase over 2019) to spend with our farmers
- Community Connections: we are a gathering place for people to connect with each other, which also provides the opportunity for our local civic leaders to engage with the public (please note, the Market has written no-campaigning rules). Our Opening Day tote-bag give away helps promote local business.
I remember Des Moines before the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market came to be (I’ve been a vendor and on the board most of this time), and what a good thing the Market has been for our community! I always get a thrill on opening day reconnecting with my “market family,” and seeing vendors and shoppers I’ve missed over the winter.
“I hope you will join us when the Market opens again on June 3! Support our Market! Volunteer, Donate, and Support our Vendors!”
For more info, visit https://dmfm.org.