Teenagers to Run Pittsfield Farmers Market
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Roots Rising kicks off the seventh season of the Pittsfield Farmers Market with transformation into the first teen-run market in the region on Saturday, May 11. The market will run weekly, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the First Street Common through Oct. 12.
This season boasts expanded programming and a continuation of the market's legacy as a true community hub. With Roots Rising at the helm, the Pittsfield Farmers Market will be transformed into the first teen-run farmers market in the region. It will be run by Market Crew, Roots Rising's new employment opportunity for graduates of its Farm Crews. Market Crew will be involved with every aspect of the farmers market, including vendor support, customer service, public outreach and activity programming. They will be taught an advanced curriculum on food security and the business of farmers markets.
"The Pittsfield Farmers Market will continue its legacy as an access point for fresh, healthy food. As a teen-powered market, it will also be a model of youth empowerment and a creative local food economy," said Jamie Samowitz, Roots Rising co-director.
That's not the only advantage of the move, said Co-Director Jess Vecchia.
"Having a teen-run farmers market will allow us to integrate the public into Roots Rising’s youth development work," she said. "We will be welcoming the larger community into the Roots Rising family."
Roots Rising empowers youth and builds community through food and farming. Its Farm Crew hires teens to work on farms and in food pantries. At Roots Rising, Pittsfield teens from all walks of life work side by side toward a common goal. They learn the value of working hard, the importance of communication and perseverance, and the satisfaction of living closely with the land in service of something that matters.
Shoppers at the Pittsfield Farmers Market will find fresh, local and seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese, baked goods, coffee, flowers, art, and more. Farmers and food producers include: Abode Farm, Assembly Coffee Roasters, Colfax Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Four Corners Farm, Green Heron Farm, Holiday Brook Farm, Lion's Tooth Farm, Maynard Landscape & Garden Center, Mountain Girl Farm, Smokey Divas, Square Roots Farm, White Goose Gardens, Windy Ridge Farm, and Wing and a Prayer Nursery. Artisans change weekly, but those who will vend monthly or for a half season include: Carrie Jean Converse, High Roads Farm, Shire Fire Candles, Stitches and Things That Work.
Expanded programming will include a monthly chef demo series, a monthly artisan market, a weekly group bicycle ride with Friends of the Eastside Greenway and many more community groups and free activities for all.
The Pittsfield Farmers Market accepts SNAP, HIP, WIC and Senior FMNP benefits as well as debit and credit cards. The market also runs Market Match, a nutrition incentive program for low-income residents using SNAP, WIC, and Senior FMNP benefits. This program doubles the purchasing power of those benefits and makes nutritious, local food affordable to everyone in the community.
Opening day events include:
9 a.m: Lee Bank will help unveil the newest addition to our market: mini shopping carts.
10:30 a.m.: Xinyue Allen of Sweet Secret Dessert will demonstrate cupcake decorating.
10:30 a.m.: Teen blues band Born IV Blues will perform. The band includes 14-year-old Diego Mongue on the drums; Julia Ostellino-Moran, also 14, leading with vocals and adding violin to some songs; guitarist Austin Peck, 15; and Josiah Joyce, also 15, on bass.
11 a.m: Friends of the Eastside Greenway will lead a group bicycle ride of the proposed new bike route that would connect downtown Pittsfield to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. All ages and cycling skills are welcome.
All-day community booths include the Berkshire Athenaeum with their mobile library, the Book Bike, Balloon Ben and his balloon creations, and the Department of Children and Families with information on becoming a foster family. For more information about the market, visit the website.