Membership Program Aims for Sustainability
What's the Story With Feast and Field? Is it too good to be true?
Feast and Field Market is a unique farmers’ market hosted by the
actual farmers who work and farm there. It is set on a hillside farm where the
sunsets are spectacular. There’s not much in the way of cell signals. People
talk. Children run. Music from
some of the finest musicians in the world fills the hills for BarnArts’ music
series. And the food. Oh the food!
Not only is the event hosted by the farmers, all the food for sale is
grown and made nearby; from tacos and salads, to ice cream, and drinks including kombucha, ciders and even
Did I mention the events are free?
photo by Seth Butler/sethbutler.com
There’s a lot of magical allure to Barnard, Vermont’s weekly market in the "middle of nowhere” and word has spread, bringing in hundreds of people each Thursday for gatherings on the backfields of a working organic farm in this town of under 1000 people.
It's almost too good to be true, and it almost was too good to be true.
For a group of farmers focused on sustainable agricultural practices, a free market funded by hard-working farmers was not sustainable for their businesses and families. Unable to sustain this free offering, the farmers introduced membership to help cover costs, including costs of site improvements (expanding parking lot to accommodate growing crowds), mowing, handicapped porta-potty rental, marketing and management. What they found was a grateful community, happy to invest a small amount each year in keeping the valued gatherings going.
This year, they've expanded membership to include tiered options, and have a goal of raising more money to help fund an exciting new initiative. This year, they've introduced a Creative Commons program, with workshops during market coordinated by the new market manager Abby Bower. Interested in hosting a workshop? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with Abby at a market.
Membership is not required to attend, but allows events to continue to be free and open to the public. By joining for as little as $25/individual or $50/family, members get lots of perks, which can end up valuing greater than the cost of membership.
PERKS: All members are invited to a membership celebration September 29th featuring stories, and entertainment from the farmers (and food of course!), weekly drink specials from Fable Farm, and participation in a monthly raffle.
At the next level, $60/person $100/family, members will get a 10% discount on raw farm products. And, if someone wishes to contribute more, at the Angel level ($300 +), the farmers will gladly put together a holiday gift basket at the end of the year. Sign up at markets, or email email@example.com for information on signing up from afar.
For info on signing up for membership to some of the farm's programs read here.
Note on Music Programming:
Music programming is a separate expense and is a program of BarnArts Center for the Arts. The pass of the hat each week is still necessary to help pay musicians and the costs associated with programming. Business and family sponsors are still sought to pull of this season. (contact me at clovermont (at) gmail (dot) com)
Daby Toure, invites Sayon Camara, and Ernesto Villalobos to join him onstage in 2016. Photo by Seth Butler.
To read about this year's music, read my blog post here.
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