We are thrilled by the community support we received in 2020. It was a nerve-racking challenge pulling The Old Church Farmers Market forward with our friends and neighbours. Health concerns sidelined several of our customers and vendors, and halted our out-of-province tourist income altogether. Your support and purchases of our food, art and crafts saw us through and kept our doors open. Fundy Farms: local harvest and the Backyard Herbalist kept going after Thanksgiving even when the rest of us gave up, and I’m not wholly convinced they are out of the picture yet. They will have planted their new earth-battery greenhouse by the time you read this.
The Old Church Farmers Market is an autonomous collective. It is not organized to the point of being able to qualify for grants and, even if it were, we stubbornly want to pay our own way. However, it is becoming clear that our core members and our customers exist as an island of talent in an expanding lake of need. In 2020 (given all the new arrivals to the area), we referred people to all sorts of local services that you can imagine - everything from real estate transactions to children’s music. In the coming year, as we better understand the depth of talent of our members and associates, we may start partnering with other organizations to help connect the dots to help them reach their community goals.
The fact that farmers’ markets were classified as an essential service by the province gave us the confidence to join in with the traditional Christmas in the Country festival. When our zone switched to orange, we lost about 20% of our vendors. Thankfully, we went back to yellow on the last day of the sale. The event was spread out across two weekends: four days to accommodate social distancing. Everyone was masked. Our COVID plan included the usual things plus we “blew out” the air in the building at the end of each day with our industrial blower to keep the air fresh. We were inspected by the troops. They particularly liked our sign asking visitors to keep apart by "one comfy market pig distance, that’s 24 pigs feet."
And we had a little fun and drank too much locally roasted Buddha Bear coffee. It is amazing how you can recognize people by their eyes, hair and how they carry themselves. We saw such great masks. We had live music all four days. Fundy Ceilidh played two days. We were treated to a performance by Gareth Pearson (aka The Welsh Tornado), an awesome guitar player from Wales who happened to be stranded in our area. Also, “Jampan” played while masked children accompanied on the drum and danced.
Have a coffee (that’s a locally roasted coffee) and think of us during the New Year… we will be thinking of you.