Market Baby

I’m swinging between high excitement and discouragement. I have an opportunity that thrills me when I think about it, but is also so much bigger than anything I’ve held that I fear it’s more than I can wrangle. As if I had been elected to lasso the moon (so long as I can find enough rope).

Last summer I took on the position of manager for a local farmers’ market. The market was essentially a non-entity, though there had previously been vendors selling at our intended location. The mayor desired a market to bring people to the town’s lovely new park, so he presented this to my pastor, who in turn sold me as the manager. No credentials, no experience, and no current resume (not to mention no familiarity with my new home), and yet I was gifted an opportunity that suited a million different interests of mine. The mayor doesn’t want to run it, and my pastor doesn’t want to run it, so they handed me a list of potential vendors and suggested I interpret the concept of a market any way I could imagine it.

I sat down with a couple people with a hobby-interest in my project and we carved out two six-week runs in the summer and fall. With a few facsimiles of local market paperwork I generated a very basic application, a volunteer created a gorgeous graphic for banners, and we found a line-up of musicians to play. A couple dozen vendors passed through, and in the end the folks at Town Hall helped me throw a big festival to bring it to a close. (I called it the “Market Hay Day”.) It was a whirlwind that didn’t involve much planning. Couldn’t involve it, I guess.

The new year is on us, and I’m still offered the opportunity (as a volunteer, so it’s no skin off anyone’s nose), so I’ve begun to think with long-term goals in mind. There is no board, no committee, no LLC or 501(c). I alone am the only person planning what may happen with this market in the spring. It’s like a vast, blank space for creativity and a barren, dangerous desert at the same time.

I know there are people who can share my vision with me, and I pray they will find me. One step at a time.

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