After 14 years, SnoValley Tilth will no longer host and manage Carnation Farmers Market.
The SnoValley Tilth released an announcement on Dec. 3 that informed the Carnation Farmers Market community of their decision.
“SnoValley Tilth, at the request of the city of Carnation, has hosted the Carnation Farmers Market since 2005,” the release reads. “After careful consideration, SnoValley Tilth has made the difficult decision to suspend hosting or managing Carnation Farmers Market beyond 2019. We are prepared to assist the community with upfront support to continue the Carnation Farmers Market in a sustainable, vibrant new direction.”
According to Jill Farrant, executive director of SnoValley Tilth, the board or directors commissioned a committee to perform an extensive study of the entire market. Farrant said they saw low vendor and consumer turnout for a number of years. This year, the board paid attention to see how they could increase that turnout. The committee evaluated the vendor community, Carnation Farmers Market model, local community support, survey results, city of Carnation involvement and feedback from past farmer vendors. They found that using the traditional Carnation Farmers Market business model for the market was not sustainable. The committee concluded that the market will have a greater opportunity for success if the community managed the market.
“Everyone here just wants the market to be successful,” she said. “We just felt like it would be much more sustainable and much more successful if there was a community organization or volunteer group that is running the market rather than us.”
Farrant said it was a tough decision for the board to make.
“We really wanted to hand that over to the community,” she said. “This is what we feel is going to be best for the market, and we want to support other groups or individuals that want to take that on.”
The market is now being turned over to the community. Farrant hopes solutions are found to make the market a sustainable farmers market that will continue to be a fixture for the community with the new direction.
SnoValley Tilth also will assist new market leaders with support such as vendor lists, marketing material already purchased, learned lessons on critical grant writing or market financial support and possible use of the organization’s nonprofit status to assist the grant requests.
Questions can be emailed to the SnoValley Tilth board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city of Carnation did not comment before the Snoqualmie Valley Record’s press deadline.