"I once was asked “In one word – tell me what Pike Place Market (where I worked at the time) means to you.” Without having to think I said, “Opportunity.”
I now run the Shoreline Farmers Market. I get chills when I think about how cool it is to work somewhere that provides opportunity for the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive. A place where a mom can make “bath bombs” in her kitchen for financial independence. Where an immigrant farmer can make a living and a build a community. Where a budding musician can build nerves of steel and pour their soul into a song. Where a volunteer can smile with abandon even though he cannot speak or move without his aide, as they pass out shopping bags to grateful market goers. Where a young cook can become a chef and make the dream of starting a restaurant one step closer. That place, big and established like Pike Place Market, or small and growing like Shoreline Farmers Market, is a place of opportunity.
That’s why I work at and for farmers markets. I admit it can be challenging at times and would never describe the work as easy. The hardest part for me is trying not to internalize the rough patches vendors go through. I know when a farmer does not sell out of flowers there is a good chance the flowers will go bad and all of that work will go to waste. Or that when the skies get dark I see in their eyes the fear that the summer rains will ruin what is still in the field. Or that a slow week might mean no school photos for the kiddos that year, or any of many financial strains. It is humbling and a bit gut churning. And yet, those lows make the highs so rewarding. When there is success, there is no better feeling.
I admire the self-employed. I respect people that are willing to throw their hearts into what they love. Those that take risks so that we can all have a more diverse world. To grow our food in ways that does not poison us, even though they most likely will never quite make enough money. People that are willing to take risks to make our world a more beautiful place by making art for our eyes and souls.
It’s a given that farmers markets are placemakers. A place where a volunteer can share their most valuable asset: themselves. A place for families to gather and share healthy food values with their children. Meet up with friends for a meal and music. A place to connect to local nonprofits. Shake the hand of a farmer. A place to be you.
Think global and shop local. Support your neighborhood Farmers Markets. And please take a moment to honor the little fish in the big business pond. Your support will make a difference."
~Teri Wheeler, Shoreline Farmers Market Manager
In 2013 the Shoreline Farmers Market raised funds to support a matching program for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) eligible customers in our community - helping introduce them to the market, stretch their dollars a bit further and encourage purchases of healthy locally grown food for their families. This was based off of a successful program (Fresh Bucks) that was in place at select Seattle farmer's markets. The idea is, shoppers who have SNAP can have their first $10 matched at any and every market during the season. In 2014 and 2015, we ran out of funds but continued to honor requests for the popular and important program out of our own budget - which was worth every penny!
In 2016 we are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a place in the Fresh Bucks program, with funding for the next 3 market seasons! This will allow us to more actively market and promote this program to our community, increase our ceiling for matches per season by a big number and ultimately support a healthy local food system for all in our community. This also means that eligible SNAP customers could receive up to $180 worth of additional produce over the course of the 2016 season. Be on the lookout for more information regarding this program in the coming weeks. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Thanks to all that made this a reality at our market!
The Shoreline Farmers Market is proud to be starting a Power of Produce (POP) Kids Club this market season. We all know good habits start young. The POP program will provide kids with their own POP Bucks to spend on fruits, vegetables and plant starts of their choice. This program is for any and all children that visit the Market, and they are encouraged to participate weekly. The kids can partake in activities revolving around produce and farm production. This video from the Oregon City Farmers Market is an awesome example of a successful POP program. Please feel free to contact us with questions or to volunteer your talents helping kids connect with the power of produce! Follow the link below to volunteer. To find out more about the national POP Program please visit the Farmers Market Coalition website. Thanks everyone!
Union leader and labor organizer Cesar Chavez dedicated his life to improving treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers. Today is the federal commemorative holiday celebrating the birth and legacy of the civil rights and labor movement activist. Last week, Alvarez Organic Farms - a founding vendor at our market proudly accepted the City of Shoreline's proclamation in recognition of the holiday.
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him...The people who give you their food give you their heart.”
Born near Yuma, Arizona, on March 31, 1927, Cesar Chavez employed nonviolent means to bring attention to the plight of farmworkers, and formed both the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers. As a labor leader, Chavez led marches, called for boycotts and went on several hunger strikes. It is believed that Chavez's hunger strikes contributed to his death on April 23, 1993, in San Luis, Arizona.
We are excited to introduce Teri Wheeler as the Shoreline Farmers Market’s new Manager. Teri recently spent 7 years as the Market Master of the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s most popular tourist destination, where she was also the Food and Farm Program Manager. Over the last 18 months as Market Master, Teri oversaw the expansion of the Pike Place Market to South Lake Union and City Hall Market’s. Prior to her leadership roles at the market, Teri owned multiple small businesses and was a longtime vendor at the Pike Place Market. In 2010 Teri served a 2-year term as President of the Washington State Farmers Market Association and currently supports her son’s urban farm in North Seattle.
With her years of leadership experience in the market scene and long-time commitment to the success of farmer's markets and small businesses we are confident Teri will help us take the market to great places! The market is now accepting applications for vendors and musicians and we are also in search of new volunteers and sponsors to help build our growing network. If you are interested in any level of participation, please contact us.