By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
2019 was another successful year for our beloved farmers market, Tuesday Market. For 30 weeks, from April to November, we popped up our canopies between the parking garage and Thornes Market each Tuesday afternoon from 1:30 to 6:30, rain or shine. But this year it was more shine than rain, with only a few rainy days throughout the season. This fact makes a big difference to our outdoor market!
Highlights of the season included:
- New vendors who fit seamlessly into the mix- Sunrise Maple, LifeBooch (kombucha), Underline Farm (chicken), Irida Kakhtiranova (pierogi) and Pie in the Sky (strawberries) were all welcome additions to our lineup. We hope they all will return in 2020.
- Our SNAP Match Program grew- We had more participation and a greatly increased the amount of incentive money distributed. SNAP Matching was funded by our generous 2019 sponsors Valley Solar and Valley Home Improvement. Thanks to the consistency of these business sponsorships (Valley Solar also sponsored the program in 2018) our participation grew by over 35%. SNAP Match is a great compliment to the state-run Healthy Incentives Program.
“I can’t express how much I appreciate the SNAP programs that make it possible for me to shop here and make food purchases that align with my values. The staff at the market are wonderful—knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. They make me feel welcomed and like I belong.” – SNAP Customer“We are what we eat, we think as we eat, we behave as we eat: so our community needs this good food in as many bellies as possible to keep us civilized and healthy.” -Valley Solar, TM SNAP Match sponsor 2018 and in 2019 along with their partner company, Valley Home Improvement
SNAP Match by the Numbers
|SNAP tokens||$13,735||$17,605||↑ $3,870|
|SNAP Match||$10,860||$14,723||↑ $3,863|
|HIP/Direct SNAP||$30,881||$36,799||↑ $5,918|
- We planted a Flagpole Garden! Thanks to permission from the City of Northampton and help from our own Community Garden volunteers, we planned and planted an edible garden around the flagpole in the market plaza. Working with the volunteers was a great experience and the city employees were generous to allow us to plant the garden. Throughout the season market-goers and passers by could sample cherry tomatoes, cucamelons and a variety of herbs like tulsi, chamomile and anise hyssop.
- Our Downtown business coupon program began and included 6 businesses who provided a coupon at the market tent and advertised to their customers. Benefits of this effort were building relationships with the Chamber of Commerce, DNA and downtown business owners with lots of potential for 2020.
- Our Grow Food Northampton family was a strong presence. Almost every week there was an extra set of hands at the market tent, providing help with running the spinning wheel, doing a craft or activity and helping with various projects. Thank you to all the interns, work-study students, Community Garden volunteers and GFN staff for being there.
- The Bag Share Project set up a bag-making demonstration during several markets this season. Customers could make a bag to add to our reusable bag stash using the no-sew method of making bags from reused seed bags, drip tape and grommets. The Bag Share is available at the market tent and we are always in need of more bags and welcome donations anytime.
- We hosted musicians nearly every week of the season including new additions like the Northampton Youth Strings group, 33 Hawley Street’s Helios sculpture, 2019 poster artist Kinga Martin, Circus Smirkus and SHOW Circus School.
- Tuesday Market was voted 2019 Best of the Valley winner for Best Farmers Market.