Community Meeting June 12, 2012
More than 50 people attended the Wild Ramp information meeting at Heritage Station to learn about the ongoing progress for the Wild Ramp Market. Stacy Garrett, Shelly Keeney, and Simone Kompanek explained that this market is for the community by the community, emphasizing that the market will respond to requests as much as possible to find products that are wanted as well as looking to the public for support to get the market economically functional and running on volunteer power as well.
The mention of building the local market economy was made several times in relation to the importance of finding products as close to Huntington as possible. The original farm producer delineation will be within 250 miles which will pull in to the desired 100 mile radius as consumer demand gets better identified and producers increase to meet it. This effort to building a local food economy will succeed as we all work together.
We can expect the first winter will have some deficits in fresh produce, but as there are some farmers who currently use hydroponic production as well as low and high tunnels for cold weather growing, it may work adequately, if not abundantly. Meat products will continue through the winter and it is expected that value added products, such as preserves, condiments and artisan products will be available. The following winter it is assumed production of fresh produce will be increased as the farmers see it will be economic to use the cold weather technology.
A Producer Meeting is scheduled for this Friday at 10:00 at Heritage Station. At this time there are about 65 farms that have already indicated interest to participate. If you are a farmer and would like to participate, please attend.
In addition, 10:00 this Friday will also be the Sewing Circle at Unlimited Futures at 1650 8th Avenue for people who would like to participate turning feed bags into reusable shopping sacks. A tutorial for sewing the bags has been posted to this blog if you would like to help but can not attend the Sewing Circle.
Saturday another Work Day is scheduled from 10:00 to 5:00. Please come, even if only for an hour or two. There is a significant amount of work to be completed for the market to open as soon as possible. This Saturday there are plans to prime existing walls, paint ceiling tracks and lay sheet rock on the new wall studs. Another Work Day is scheduled for the following Saturday, June 23 and will probably include more painting and more.
Finally, we heard how the financial situation will be structured for both the consumers and the producers. You do not have to be a member to shop at the Wild Ramp. However, becoming a Friend of the Market will provide an income flow to help offset some expenses and will provide various benefits: supporter appreciation days, free subscription to the Market newsletter, ability to place orders on line for ready pick up when you arrive, bulk ordering, and many other perks, including a reusable shopping sack (sewed by volunteers at the Sewing Circle). Consumer education programs will be offered to help teach better use of local products. See the full list of benefits on the website. The basic rate would be $100 per year per family with no volunteer obligation, but the fee can be reduced to $50 per year with only 12 hours of volunteer service at the market. In addition, a $250 three year memebership and a $1000 lifetime membership, both with no volunteer obligdation are offered.
Producers will pay $50 per year to become a Member and also rent shelf space at $15 per month. They will set their own prices, bring in and set up their displays, and then they can leave. There will be no need to sit around as they need to do at typical farmers markets.
Products will be labeled with information about the farm practices as well as the product. If there is specific infomraiton you woudl like to have available to know about the farm products, please post your suggestions on the Wild Ramp Facebook Page or website or comment here and I will send it on.