The community group behind the new Occidental Community Farmers Market has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000 in order to open the market on Friday, June 7. Within one week, they’ve raised more than $8,000.
“We feel that $20,000 is a lofty goal, but reachable,” said Katy Mamen, secretary for the group and the person who set up the GoFundMe.
“We are really building the market from the ground up, and there are some pretty hefty costs associated with launching a farmer’s market, including hiring a market manager, permitting fees — we have to get four different permits from the county — as well as all the market infrastructure, like market tents, table and chairs, and a number of other costs.”
“There’s been such an outpouring of support for the market that we felt that one way we could make the market happen was by bringing the community together to provide some financial support,” she said.
“We also saw it as a great platform to help us tell our story. Two local videographers made a wonderful video for us and that’s on the GoFundMe site as well,”according to Michael Stusser, owner of Osmosis Day Spa and president of the new farmers’ market board.
The group was so heartened by the early response to their GoFundMe that it hired a new market manager to help launch the project.
“We had an interim person who did a tremendous amount of work to ramp it up,” Stusser said. “Carla Rosin, the market manager for the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, really helped us with outreach to vendors and getting signed contracts.”
The group has now hired Occidental resident Kim LaVere, a natural foods chef, certified coach and Ayurvedic counselor, as the new market manager.
“She’s all about supporting nourishing lives for people that that’s a great match for us. She’s a real polymath and total go-getter. We’re super excited to have her working with us,” Mamen said.
All of the group’s permits have been submitted to the county, and Stusser said he’s feeling optimistic about opening the market by June 7.
“We working very closely with the county. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins has been really helpful. She’s come out and walked all around town with us, as did the fire chief, who came up with a great map for us.”