~ from Serena, Farmers' Market Manager ~
Managing a farmers' market is not as glamorous as one might think.
There are ins and outs I never thought I would encounter in my lifetime. Fueling up and maintaining a diesel vehicle, becoming an absolute aficionado at
ratchet straps, teaching someone how to start a generator, and knowing the correct kind of spray paint that will mark upside down. The "other duties
as assigned" are certainly helping to make me a well-rounded person.
Despite my strange niche of recently acquired skills, I used to have all kinds of anxiety the night before a market. I would fret and overthink and worry
about all the things that could go wrong. I would barely get any sleep on Friday nights because I would be so freaked out about the pressure of the
market running smoothly the next day.
There are definitely endless things that can go wrong, for example:
The market van doesn't start and I have to jump it at 5:45 in the morning, cars get stuck in the mud, I forget something at the office, vendors arrive
late or not at all, the electricity goes out, medical emergencies occur, we run out of tokens, enforcing the dog policy makes someone angry, keys get
locked in cars, somebody gets bit by a wild animal, tents break, volunteers get sick, I choose the wrong footwear and have wet feet all day, the portapotty
door breaks, a severe thunderstorm rolls through, etc etc etc...
All of these things have happened. And the market went on. I learned a new thing navigating each circumstance, transforming from uncertainty to confidence
as I rack up mistakes under my belt. I still have a regular amount of anxiety about regular life things, but the amount of worry the night before a
market is less than it used to be.
I've come to realize that something will always go awry, but everything will always be okay. I am surrounded by a great team of people - market staff,
volunteers and vendors - who will help in a heartbeat.
Here are the things that make it all worth it: watching a kid scream his head off in excitement about simply being at the farmers' market, listening to
a customer talk about their foray into backyard gardening, hearing a farmer describe their favorite way to prepare a vegetable and trying to replicate
that in my kitchen, being gifted an apple by a customer because "it's just that good," and watching people I don't even know find a connection with
the source of their food.
I'll continue to take the night before a market "scaries" and set my four alarm clocks on Saturday mornings because it really is all worth it.