Edison Farmers Market to continue

December 20, 2018

EDISON — The Edison Farmers Market will continue next year thanks to volunteers who stepped up to manage it.

The market faced an uncertain future earlier this year when it was not awarded a federal grant that would have supplied it with three years of funding, and its former managers could no longer sustain the market.

Former co-manager Blake Vanfield said it’s a relief to know the market will continue.

“There was a lot of sweat equity that went into it so it’s awesome to know it will go forward,” she said.

Vanfield and co-manager Angela Sullivan, both of Edison, started the market in late 2016 and have devoted up to a combined 35 hours a week during the market season to make it happen.

With careers and young children, they said they can’t keep working at the market without pay.

The new managers, Tracy Ouellette and Jennifer “Chickie” Jacobs say they stepped in because they couldn’t bear to see the market discontinued.

“It was such a vibrant thing to see here every weekend,” Ouellette said. “If I can help it keep going, I want to.”

Ouellette said she recently found herself in early retirement after her position as a doctor was eliminated.

“(The market) felt like a cause that landed in my lap right when I needed it,” she said.

Jacobs, Sullivan’s mother, said she stepped up to co-manage the market to continue Vanfield and Sullivan’s work.

“I was just so inspired and proud of what they put together,” Jacobs said.

Vanfield and Sullivan secured the market’s nonprofit status and business license. They also established a marketing base, a website and about 30 rotating vendors.

While Ouellette and Jacobs will be the new face of the market, they said the Edison community is picking up many market responsibilities.

Members of the Edison Women’s Club will take turns doing tasks for the market such as making coffee and setting up hay bales.

“We always imagined this as more of a community square than a market,” Vanfield said. “So to see the community and the women’s club take it over makes it more of that than we ever could.”

The market is a space for families to spend the day outside together while supporting local vendors, musicians and farmers, Jacobs said. It is also the only place in town to bring kids to see live music, since shows are usually at bars.

“(The market) very much so celebrates what this valley is built on,” Jacobs said.

Next year’s market will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays beginning May 12 and continuing to September.

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