The dictionary defines “community” as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.
This definition seems a perfect summary for the vibe felt amongst the group of residents I sat with recently who are working to launch the Richmond Hill Farmers Market on April 30. Their commonality was thematically centered around community and they cannot wait to present this event on the grounds of the Richmond Hill History Museum.
At the helm of the idea to initiate bringing a farmers market back to Richmond Hill are two small local business owners, Morgan Anderson (Anderson Mercantile) and Blake Young (The Green Spork). Revitalizing the concept would be beneficial for both the vendors and the community at large. Blake explains, “We were excited to create an outlet for local farmers to have confidence in, thus, giving them encouragement to produce again. We have to remember, local entrepreneurs are the key to a flourishing community.” With the team in place and a little help and guidance from Angus McLeod (leader of the first farmers market circa 2014) and Sarah Volker (with the Richmond Hill Historical Society), the group of seven is ready to see the fruits of their labor. Morgan says the contribution of ideas and contacts from each member of the launch team made the project go from a possibility to a reality. The group is excited to bring us the very first reinvented farmers market this month.
This weekly event will be the home to several dozen local farmers, artisans and small business owners who are also anxious to welcome back their customers and have a desire to create interest in shopping local. Fellow committee member, Jackie Montesino explains, “We want this to become a routine for people, something they see every Saturday afternoon. We want to get people out of the house, meeting others, greeting neighbors… We want it to be a one-stop shop where you can pick up dinner, grab a cup of coffee, and hang out, or find the perfect gift for someone.”
The committee has very big plans for this market, and it’s not just retail sales. As expressed in their mission statement, the goal is to “invigorate Richmond Hill’s beloved tradition of “Build The Hill.” This means getting the whole community involved. In addition to the museum’s involvement, the proximity to Magnolia Manor makes them a part of the story as well. Residents will have easy access to the market and opportunities to volunteer! Magnolia Manor is graciously offering free parking to market patrons. Paul Downs, another one of the creative committee members echoes his excitement, “We want to pull everyone into this! Students who need volunteering options for school, creating programs with the museum and eventually adding live music to the mix.” And of course, there is emphasis on giving back. Paul is proud that all the vendor space fees will go directly to the Richmond Hill Historical Society.
The grand opening will be a great event. Down South Cheesesteaks food truck will be onsite, along with a lovely variety of vendors providing locally-sourced offerings from fresh flowers to baked goods. You can expect to see Wild Light Honey, The Green Spork, Anderson Mercantile, Better Fresh Farms, and Billy’s Botanicals, to name a few. If you’re a small local business and are interested in becoming a vendor, visit richmondhillfarmersmarket.com or find them on any of the social media channels. The market will be open every Saturday from 3-6:30 PM.
“We know how important “shop local” is to this community and are excited to be a part of reigniting this tradition back into our town,” says Morgan Anderson. “We cannot wait to see you there!”