By Justin Aufdermauer
Thank you to everyone who came out for our Cinco De Mayo party on Saturday! What a great turn out of our community members coming to enjoy food, music and support the Tillamook Farmers Market.
Thank you to Pacific Restaurant for hosting and feeding over 200 people. And thank you to the Tillamook Country Smoker for sponsoring the live music. Los Probadores Di Michoacán brought the house down with their Norteno music. It was definitely a night to remember.
We also had some wonderful raffle prizes donated by our incredibly talented vendors who are returning for the upcoming season. Thanks to these partnerships we were able to raise more than $4,000 to support the Tillamook Farmers Market this year! For our first fundraising-event since we took over, I would say that’s pretty successful.
So what exactly were we fundraising for? This will help support the programs we offer at the Market each year. You may not know, but our Market offers a dollar-for-dollar match of up up $10 per day to SNAP customers. The Market has offered this SNAP match – called Double Up Food Bucks – for the last two years while it was funded by a grant from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture. However, the program was defunded after the 2017 season and Farmers Markets like ours had to decide if they wanted to continue to offer this match, and how they would fund it. Last year, more than 200 SNAP customers at Tillamook Farmers Market purchased nearly $4,500 in local produce We’ve been able to partner with Food Roots to keep it going for the 2018 season, thanks to support from grants and local donations.
We also partner with OSU Extension to help educate youth on healthy eating choices. OSU Extension is bringing their Food Hero program to the Market this year, which means food experts, fun games and chances to win prizes – plus handing out $2 vouchers to kids under 12 so they can purchase their own fruits and vegetables each week. We’re hoping this year to reach at least 20 kids per week and keep them coming back each Saturday to get their fruits and vegetables.
Some other benefits of the Farmers Market that we fundraise for include the live entertainment each day, and this year we are bringing back the popular chef demonstrations – where local chefs can show off their skills using ingredients directly from Market vendors. And as the season draws near, we are planning more activities and special days to bring people downtown and support our local farmers and artisans.
If you’d like to get involved, there are a number of ways to help support the Market as a sponsor. We’d love to showcase your business or organization as a partner for healthy food, local farmers, and supporting downtown. We are still accepting sponsors for a variety of activities and incentives, including music and the kids programs. Our sponsorship packages include high quality signage at the Market, your logo on our website, and regular “shout outs” on Facebook. With hundreds of people visiting the market every week, it’s a high volume opportunity to reach a lot of people and showcase your community pride.
If you’re interested in being a Market supporter, reach out to Sayde Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.