2015: What’s New at HCFM?
This year, starting with Opening Day on March 28, we celebrate our 10th season of hosting markets. Who could have imagined the little market that started with 6 vendors would blossom into a community fixture? Truly, great things can grow from small seeds.
As we head into this new market year, we want to share some of the exciting, new things you will see from us this year. While we embrace our growth, we have to make sure that we continue to meet our mission of increasing the supply, demand, and access to healthy, local foods in Spartanburg County. While some changes will be minor or cosmetic, others will be significant, and help us take the leap forward we need to serve the community. Here are just a few of the things you will notice this year:
- Sponsors: we are one of the few farmers’ markets in the state that is not municipality-run. As an independent 501(c)3, we rely on charitable donations, grants, and the revenue we generate to support us. To build for long-term sustainability, we will be adding market and Mobile Market sponsorships. The revenue we generate from them will go a long way to offsetting the growing expenses of our organization. We have been very deliberate about who we want for sponsors, and are reaching out to businesses whose mission and values are similar to ours. We hope you will show them the same kind of support you have shown us.
- Bigger CSA offering: we will release our CSA (community supported agriculture) program this week, and we think it will be a major improvement over a very good program we have managed the last few years. Our farmers asked for a later start, so the program will start in May, which will give a greater variety of produce to the subscribers. We will follow that CSA with an 8 week subscription that will run from September to November, and may offer a seasonal-transition CSA that would run from August to September. All in all, you will see more opportunities to get fresh, local produce without having to come directly to the market or Mobile Market.
- Events: you will see more events at the market, whether it is our musical acts, cooking contests, or sponsor-driven events. The Mobile Market will be making a fair share of appearances, too, at places like Jam in the Park and other community events. You will also see private and public events at Northside Harvest Park. We hope that HCFM becomes a favorite family event for you!
- More prepared foods: with all the great culinary talent in town, we think it is only natural that we have more prepared foods at the market. We have always had wonderful breakfast goodies at the market, but we want to offer something for the late morning crowd, too.
- Greater collaboration: Spartanburg loves to work together, and we want to reflect that more at the market. Get ready to see more local businesses, community groups, and partner non-profits out at the market showing off their great work.
- New faces: times change, and we do, too, so make sure you get to know the new people running the market, our new board members, and our ever-growing volunteer corps. In other words, we continue to grow and improve, and we hope it shows every day!
- More Mobile Market stops: last year, the Mobile Market made 370 stops, up from 62 in 2013. This year, the Mobile Market will make even more stops. Make sure you follow the calendar — the Mobile Market will run from late-April until December.
- Emphasis on community and sustainability: this year, we have challenged ourselves to ask “what impact will we have on Spartanburg in 5 years and beyond?” With that thought in mind, we will work constantly to make sure that each step we take will make an impact now and in Spartanburg’s future. We want to address our mission and create a sustainable model that will allow us to do more in the years to come.
All our actions this year build toward next year, when we start the market January 30, and will offer 12 months worth of markets. Our goal beyond that is to build our local food system strong enough to offer a full-time, year-round market by 2019.
As always, I welcome your feedback. If you see an opportunity for us, especially in the above mentioned categories, I want to hear from you. Our organization, and the market in particular, belong to our community. We want to make sure we are giving the best market we can for you, your family, and Spartanburg in general. Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (864)585-0905.
Looking foward to seeing you March 28!