We celebrated National Farmers Market Week at our August 5th Dog Days market by hosting 12 vendors, eating supper at The Dakota Cuban food truck, sending our kids down Burke Community Club sponsored bounce slide at least 100 times, dragging customers and vendors over to our photobooth contest, and giving away 17 door prizes!
BAFM President Holly Glover reflected on the 2021 market season: "You know, after disastrous flooding and a devastating tornado in 2019, a hard-hitting pandemic in 2020, and the accompanying individual and community grief that has affected everyone along the way, celebrating at the market has felt like a real bright spot this year. I'm grateful for all the people who make it possible."
Farmers markets all over the US increase connection and community resilience, and the Burke Area Farmers Market is no exception. At least 150 people come each week to shop, eat, learn, listen, chat, and play. We're pleased to be back to more normal operations this year, but even through Covid last summer the market vendors had successful sales. The pandemic showed even more people what we already knew over in our corner of the world: food systems with short supply chains are essential and resilient.
At the Burke City Park for the third year, we are proud to participate in creating an activated community space where we can share culture and build community through food. We were especially proud to kick off the Dog Days alumni weekend celebration in a way that showcases some of our shared values including family, food, and fun. Because of a lot of planning by our board, hard work from our vendors, and participation from our customers, we are excited to have the opportunity to participate in long-term planning for the park space that will help make the market more accessible and welcoming for all attendees.
The USDA has concluded that farmers markets "play a critical role in our communities connecting producers and consumers, strengthening nutrition security and contributing to a fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient food system."
Burke Area Farmers Market manager Kelsea Sutton agreed, explaining that all of these factors are a part of the Market's mission to grow healthy food, families, and communities. Sutton said, "You can't have any one of these things stand on their own. Food penetrates every aspect of our lives. Especially in an agricultural region, stronger food systems will mean stronger families and stronger communities. And the market is specifically designed to make space for teaching, learning, playing, and connecting."
Board member and market manager Fran Hill is excited about what the market has accomplished, as well as always looking to achieve more.
"Next year, we will celebrate our 10-year anniversary, and I think we can proudly say this market has played a role in strengthening the physical, emotional, and economic health of our region."