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  • OURS: Market Board of Directors

OURS: Ten years of providing for each other

The Burke Area Farmers Market celebrated our 10th anniversary last week with big style thanks to a grant from the SD Specialty Producers Association. We were delighted to welcome culinary artist Chef Brave Heart (Oglala Lakota) to our market for a farm to table event. You can read more about Chef Brave Heart’s work here, follow her on Instagram and Facebook, and check out news articles about her vision here and here.

She created the menu around what ingredients we could source locally and from the Market. We drank shooters of cucumber gazpacho with veg from the Glovers, Laura McKeen, and Jo Wulf and garlic from Ray Yager. We ate small plates of ratatouille bursting with flavor from the best familiar summer friends: tomatoes, eggplant, zuchinni, and onion. And we enjoyed tender beef and vegetable skewers with meat from both our vendor Larry Wagner and donated from our favorite beef ladies: the Rosebud Rancherettes (prepped by the Gregory County Locker). If our memory serves, the Rancherettes have done a local beef event at every farmers market since 2012. They were on to the local food movement well before it was trendy. We topped it all off with local honey + thyme cake.

We had so many helpers. Thank you to Lakota Youth Development’s Felisha and Fred Fast Horse, to Tanya Broome, Kim Peterson, Kass Witt, Tovi and Jason Bartels, and Brad Hill. Thank you to Cheryl Schonebaum for afternoon caffeine. We had fab live music from Sam Drey and gorgeous flowers from the whole Drey family. Kids enjoyed an art activity with Kaitlyn Steffen and the Burke Library. We loved spending this year under the new, beautiful shade structure.

All that to celebrate the 10 years of the farmers market’s journey in food, health, and community. BAFM launched with just a few mighty vendors on Main Street in July 2012. The commitment of those vendors and the love of our regular customers made even the early “smaller” years of the Market feel very successful. We put on food demos, reading events, and flu shot clinics. We hosted artists and musicians.

About 5 or 6 years in, we felt like we’d become a stable staple in the community and were ready to think bigger about what the market could be. We expanded our board of directors, conducted focus groups, and collected community feedback.

This led to our move to the Burke City Park where there was shade, seating, bathrooms, and a playground; the addition of food trucks for family supper; and a re-imagining of how to communicate with customers. The market exploded in many beautiful ways, and we take pride in helping to make the City Park an activated community space. Every Thursday the Market becomes a place for people to exchange: ideas, commerce, food, rest, and love. It is a space where people can provide for each other.

Our board knows that the Market space is made possible only through our community’s commitment to each other, and it only sustains, adapts, and grows because we all have hopeful vision for our home. So during that annual heady, high-summer season of abundance—often overflowing with more zucchini than any small city population could ever eat—may the Market always be a reminder that we all here share a history and a future.

There, once a week, we can celebrate our different and shared cultures through food, provide for each other, and try to build a future that includes everyone who loves it here.

Sincerely, the BAFM board of directors

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