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Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market a boon for community

POSTED January 21, 2016 6:38 p.m.

I am writing to support the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market and offer my perspective as the current manager of TCFM.  In 2013, I was hired by the TCFM Board to serve as the market manager.  My primary responsibilities include weekly on-site management of the market, vendor recruitment and support, maintaining market compliance, arranging entertainment and community activities for the market, and answering inquiries from potential vendors, customers, community members and the media.

 

After three successful years of operation, the TCFM was eager to (1) increase the diversity and number of vendors and (2) generate more community engagement.  To achieve the first goal, I recruited over 30 new vendors to the market.  First-time vendors are often unfamiliar with market regulations or even how to set-up a successful market stall.  I provide support and guidance along with vendor space and set-up equipment to help new vendors succeed at the market.  My goal is to mentor new vendors and to develop a strong working relationship by providing them with the best tools and information to test out their ideas and become longtime partners with the TCFM.

 

Engaging the community is central to the mission of the TCFM.  As manager, I have created new partnerships and expanded existing ones.  Through our popular weekly sponsorship program, the market works with over 60 non-profit organizations and local businesses to showcase their work in the community, highlight upcoming community events, and encourage healthy living.  Recent examples include Relay for Life’s cancer awareness program, the LightBox Theater Company’s goal to provide live drama and a love for the arts to area youth, the Storytime Tent’s promotion of early childhood reading and literacy, Cycle Masters bike repair and safety booth, and the Greenery’s informational booth on canning and preserving fresh fruits and vegetables.  Finally, I work with countless members of the community to create and implement themed markets like Kids Day, Stan State Night at the Market, the City of Turlock Public Works Day, Meet the Candidate’s Day, and the Turlock Firefighters Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.  These examples and many more consistently attract regular patrons and new visitors to Downtown Turlock, and they are a source of pride for our city and its residents.

 

A unique aspect of the TCFM is its educational focus.  As manager, I organize and lead school tours for K12 classes and special needs students in our community.  I also supervise and provide guidance to the TCFM intern. The TCFM internship was created to allow students to gain practical work experience in a real-world setting.  To achieve this goal, I set-up tasks in advance that provide opportunities for the intern to demonstrate creativity, initiative and responsibility.  The TCFM internship program offers students a first-hand experience to learn communication, marketing and organizational skills and to realize the value of supporting their local community.

 

It’s hard to imagine that there is any market better-suited than the TCFM to serve the City of Turlock, it’s thriving downtown and its citizens.  The TCFM reflects the core values of the community and it showcases the best of what Turlock has to offer. We provide over 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables throughout the season, we offer hand-crafted items and opportunities for new vendors and aspiring entrepreneurs, we engage the community and partner with non-profits and local businesses, and we provide public awareness and education.  It’s pretty awesome!

 

Sincerely,

Derek Griffin

Manager, Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market

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