Where You Fit In
The Wild Ramp Market, we have mentioned again and again, exists because of YOU. We are a community market and that is evident by the vast number of people who are excited by and appreciative of the availability of fresh local food that they pitch in to help it run.
Other than Shelly Keeney, our Market Manager, who is paid a part time wage, everyone else you see whenever you come to the Market to shop or attend any event, as well as more behind the scenes people, everyone else is a volunteer. Seriously, it is important to understand that without the volunteers The Wild Ramp Market would not exist.
While membership in the Market is not necessary to shop there, the income from the Friends of the Market memberships helps supplement the 10% share of the product cost paid by the shoppers. A basic one-year membership is $100 with a lowered cost of $50 available with the promise to volunteer at least one hour per month.
If you have not yet fulfilled your volunteer obligation for your first year of membership you may be surprised at all the many ways The Wild Ramp Market could use your help. Some require your help at the Market or at events; others are tasks that can be done from home and are equally important to The Wild Ramp’s mission.
STORE VOLUNTEERS: We have estimated that we need 300 volunteer hours each month to run the Market Each day is broken into two managerial shifts and each manager is additionally helped by 1-3 volunteers to work the check-out station, restock the store, answer questions, and just generally be on hand as help is needed. Basic volunteer shifts could be as short as two hours but I can tell you working four hours goes by very quickly. If you like chatting with people and want first dibs on the freshest foods that the Producers deliver, this opportunity is for you!
EVENT VOLUNTEERS: Several times each month there are special programs held at The Wild Ramp or perhaps another location. These vary, of course, in terms of what help is needed. An event at the Market may require set up, offering samples as well as clean-up. An event at another location may simply mean being a good team player, helping out in whatever way you can. For example, at several Community Help A Farmer Days people helped by assembling raised beds, hammering nails, and similar simple physical tasks. Task vary as do the events. Check the Events Tab on The Wild Ramp Facebook page.
BLOGGING: The Wild Ramp currently has four people who prepare content for the blog once a week. We need at least three more people including several who are excited about the opportunity to visit the farms and other Producers who bring the food to the Market. These visits are important to gather information about all the Producer grows, the farming methods used, and what their background as well as hopes for the future include. It is time to take lots of photos and help us KNOW OUR FARMERS. Most are located within an hour of Huntington and would take drive time plus about two hours for the visit.
MARKETING: Facebook and the blog are only two portions of marketing that are get the word out about The Wild Ramp to the people who live in the area. If you have any experience or education with ways to attract business, we want to speak to you! For example, our recent event on Saturday, the Wild Ramp Summer RoundUp had a bovine guest, Breezy the Cow. While it was pretty busy for a couple of hours, activity inside the market slowed down to below a typical Saturday, which surprised us until we figured it out. We got the word out on Facebook but had not prepared flyers to hang around town. For better marketing, we need someone who is good at designing posters or flyers and others who can go around to shops and restaurants and other places to hang them so more people become aware of our activities and, believe it or not, the Wild Ramp market. And getting more people aware means more people shop there, which in turn not only helps us have enough income to pay the rent and other overhead, but the return of money to the Producers becomes more significant.
RECIPES: We love our farmers for growing food for us but some of it is a bit unusual, not part of our lifelong diet we grew up with purchased at the supermarkets. Often market volunteers are asked by shoppers how to prepare the new food and sometimes there is time to get on the internet right then and print something out. Most of the time, however, the shop is too busy with people needing to check out and farmers bringing items in, which occupies both computers at the store. We need several people who will prepare recipes and print them on index cards. Recipes can be taken from Taming the Wild Ramp: Reachable Recipes for Real Food, your family’s cooking repertoire, or searching on the Internet for recipes that look yummy.
PHONE CALLS: Believe it or not, not everyone is on the Internet. Yup, we are, so it is hard to believe, but there are many many people out there who can not get the information we need them to get from our Facebook page. For example, many of our farmers get online once a day (if that) so there is limited contact with them even by email. The Market often needs to contact them about a number of issues but the manager does not have the time to make calls. She would call you with the information and the script and you would make the calls and report back. This is one type of phone call we know we need some help making on a regular basis.
CONSTRUCTION: We need people to build projects for the Market. We need this NOW! For example, we know that in just a few weeks we will have about three times the amount of fruit and vegetables that the Producers are currently bringing –just think of all the fresh ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more that summer gardens produce! We need to be able to display them for sale in a different way than we currently use on tables. We have the designs and we need someone who can put it all together at home. We will help get it to the store!
DATA ENTRY: Remember back when the market opened and we had to handle sales the old fashioned way? When we got the computer system the check-out flow improved. Over the course of the year another change was made which required Jennine Barilla to make adjustments to each item in the database. Well, now that it is a new growing season, some other things have changed and the database needs adjusting again. This can happen faster with more people working on it.
SEWING: The wonderful shopping tote is one of the perks of becoming a Friend of the Market. They are made from 100-pound feed sacks washed by the contributing farmer and then cut and sewn by volunteers. It is a simple sewing project and anyone with any kind of machine can help!
MARKET HUNT: As much as we love being located in Heritage Station and as much as we have helped the development of Heritage Station become a destination for residents and visitors, we realize that the space we currently have, at the rental we are asked to pay, is not a comfortable fit for us. We need more eyes and brains in the search for a location where we have the room to do all we hope to do (like classes, like a demonstration kitchen and more). We have heard that other markets like ours are located in buildings with no rent! That the owners, recognizing that a vacant structure was not doing anyone any good, had the civic pride to offer the space. While we can dream of free rent, we are hopeful for at least a reasonable rent for the space we need. So, we need your help to search out locations and speak to any property owners you may know who have vacant buildings that could be considered.