Late October was an incredibly stressful time between wildfire evacuations, power outages, and wind gusts. Yet, the farmers market went on – rain, shine, or power outage! I am thankful for our market managers, farmers, fishers, ranchers, food makers, artisans, and shoppers who came together, were flexible, and made the market work! The farmers market did and can mobilize our food system during times of crisis.
One farmer said it best “We come here every week — no matter what – for our regular customers who depend on us for food.” Many market shoppers said the market was a lifesaver for them during the PG&E Power Outages. The farmers market offered relief and refuge for our local community. Our partners at the Marin Center operated an evacuation shelter that my team and I were able to visit and offer comfort to those who were displaced from the Kincaid Fire. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, we provided coupons for evacuees to shop the farmers market for hot food and fresh produce.
Some of our producers experienced mandatory evacuations, had to shut down their kitchens during outages, and missed the farmers market. A week of lost revenue for a small business can be devastating. In light of these losses, you may wonder: “How can I help?” Buy direct from farmers, food purveyors, and artisans participating in our local food system. Support them as often as possible, rain or shine. And please consider a gift to AIM’s year-end campaign to build a healthy future.
-Andy Naja-Riese, CEO, Agricultural Institute of Marin