Kelly Marie Redcliffe
Please appreciate that this is a longer message but one I hope you can take time for.
I will start by saying thank you! I believe that our community has shown sincere respect for the restrictions at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. I know many of you have found different ways to interact with us over the last couple of years, be it in person as we safely navigate COVID Restrictions or through our online store which redoubled its efforts to accommodate the community, or perhaps even our 6-days a week Farm & Art Market Store. I thank you for your commitment to local, which of course is not abstract. It represents your commitment to a healthy community, to our vendors as environmental stewards of the land, to local food infrastructure and its capacity to feed us, to building a resilient community, and to your own health. Ultimately it represents the value you place in people and all that lives.
When asked what has made us able to rise to the challenge of COVID or help us to be so resilient over these last two years, my answer is the authentic relationships we have with so many people, built over time. We will, after all, be celebrating our thirtieth anniversary starting in May. But there can be no doubt that over a two year period these relationships have been impacted. Our inability to see one another as much as we are used to, topped with a winter that brought Saturday storms, and the fractious world we are witness to, has made us collectively draw deeper inwards.
And yet on this first Saturday of spring, I am looking forward to the way this season slowly and almost beneath our knowing, unfathomably unfurls. As a Farmers’ Market rooted in this connection to the seasons, and as a Cooperative, rooted in our connection to people, we embrace transitions and the ongoing legacy they create over time.
The lifting of the COVID restrictions represents yet another transition that the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and our community will navigate. Transitions take carefulness yet forcefulness, planning yet playfulness, respect for people with different needs, and no matter what, they happen over time, not just one step at a time, but all of our steps, over time. I hope you will see this balanced approach in our intentions and actions.
As you develop new routines, we ask that you remember the impact your commitment has on the people who grow your food and nurture your health. Our resilience as a community depends on the solidity of these relationships through all the times: good times, hard times, and transition times. As we consider the reopening plan that the province has set before us, where mandates are removed and citizens and businesses continue to navigate, we have made the following decisions.
We are going to launch an add-on Masked Market from 8:30am-9am on Saturdays in advance of the regular Saturday Market from 9am-1pm. This Masked Market is being introduced to serve those who are more comfortable in a masked environment. Through this we will be able to offer an extra safe place to access and support local. All customers and all vendors serving customers will be wearing masks at this time. There may be some vendors not participating in the masked market who are just setting up for the regular Market who are not wearing masks during this time, but they will likely be few and far between as 90% of our vendors will be participating in the Masked Market.
As the regular Saturday Market unfolds (9am-1pm) masks will be welcome at all times and in concert with Public Health, they are recommended.
We are also excited to embrace some fun and openness and will be making some small changes indoors. We will be reducing the size of the store to accommodate more vendors and provide some benches to perch on and have a bite to eat. Vendors are so very excited to again be able to offer samples to show you what local deliciousness they have to offer. We are delighted to start bringing back live music in the Community Room. We haven’t room for a seating area per se, but there will be some seating for people to perch on as we ease into spring. The picnic tables will be set up outside too!
And finally, as a gesture of thanks, we will be creating an Outdoor Photo Booth at the Market where you can finally share your smiles with those you cherish.
We will continue to host WFM2Go (wfm2go.ca) Wednesdays and Saturdays and offer home delivery on Thursdays. Each day we see more greens added to the site and with over 50 local vendors the diversity of products is just amazing. This service offers twelve pick-up hubs throughout the Valley and HRM, including one at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. Our home delivery service is perfect for those who cannot easily get out. We have found that many who used to be regulars who developed meaningful relationships with our vendors, but for whatever reason can no longer attend, especially love this well-supported service. Staff are so happy to walk these customers through the process.
Farm & Art Market Store
We will be developing the store in a way that is more compact to make way for an enhanced Saturday Market. We remind you that the store is open 6 days per week and is our gentle, safe, and steady offering for those who like the convenience of easy access, close parking, and fewer folks. In this vein, the plexiglass will stay up and staff will continue to serve customers while wearing a mask. The hours for the Store are:
Tuesday to Friday: 10am-5pm
Thanks everyone, let’s keep on stepping on!