An unexpected trio of volunteers has stepped up to help organize the farmer’s market in Genoa.
Genoa High School agricultural teacher Dave Stacklin along with students Rachel Weber and Madison Sheahan have offered to run the farmer’s market on behalf of the village this year.
The girls will use the market’s operation as a Future Farmers of America project. Stacklin and ag teacher Luke Ryan will guide them through the financial dealings such as vendor contracts, bank accounts and other paperwork.
Rachel Weber and Madison Sheahan,
The group plans to change things up a little – first by moving the event from early Saturday mornings to 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoons.
“We figure nobody wants to get up at 9 a.m. to go buy vegetables. This way, people can get fresh fruit and vegetables on their way home from work,” said Weber, a junior.
The market setup will also be on the Main Street side of Genoa Town Hall rather than in the parking lot, said Village Administrator Kevin Gladden. The move is expected to bring more visibility to the market and, thus, more foot traffic.
The village was one of the first communities in Ottawa County to create a farmer’s market more than five years ago to showcase local goods at reasonable prices. Those first years attracted a number of vendors – from vegetable and flower dealers to local growers of meat products and eggs.
But the hype didn’t carry over to following years.
Market operators claimed a lack of involvement from the business community in maintaining an interest in the event.
The two teenagers hope to change that by involving the business community in their operations. Several business owners have offered to help them with start up costs by providing copies of the brochures and other paperwork.
“They’ve been really supportive of us. They insisted we call it the Genoa FFA Farmer’s Market,” Weber said.
Weber said she and Sheahan have helped plan FFA week and other activities.
“But this is our first time out on such a big project,” she said.
They’ll create a marketing plan based on their visits to other larger farmer’s market such as the Perrysburg market as well as others throughout Ottawa County. Then a synopsis of the visits including community comparisons will be included in the project’s report.
The farmer’s market will run from May 22 to Sept. 22. And as it grows, they hope to bring in more volunteers through FFA members at the school.
Social media will also be a key part of advertising the new village market with it having its own Facebook page and Twitter account.
Weber says she’s new to the Twitter phenomena and will enjoy learning to use it to bring more exposure to the market’s weekly events.