Abingdon Farmers Market
P.O. Box 791 Abingdon, VA 24212
Meeting Minutes 7/02/12
Steering Committee Present: Darnell Sumrell, Richard Moyer, Tom Peterson, Nicola Aloisio,
Dwayne McIntyre, Lionel Osborne, Melissa Gleason, Blake Baker, David King and Sara
Vendors: Ben Bullen, Richard Moyer Jr.
Market Manager Report
AFM Sign on Highway
o The Town has met with VDOT to explore sign options.
o Brown signs – only a certain number are allowed, and Abingdon is a Town
rich in tourist sites, so they also explored:
o Blue signs on Interstate – these signs carry a yearly fee and a hefty cost to
produce the sign. Some of these costs ($1,500.00 / year?) can come from the
Town budget and from the Abingdon Tourism Bureau, but the AFM may not
be open enough hours on a weekly basis to qualify for the blue signs.
o The Town is still pursuing the options for brown signs – there is not much we
can do, they are working on it and we need to wait and see how the process
o The plan for the leveraging grant (to attract additional advertising funds) did
not pan out as hoped. We will stick to our original advertising/promotion
budget, but “Friends of the Market” funds can hopefully help boost the budget.
o We will have access to some free, professional quality video that will be shot
at the AFM to use in our promotional efforts.
10 for 10 Challenge
o 103 folks are signed up for the 10 for 10 challenge.
o We are averaging 30 vendors for the Tuesday Market – these numbers should
grow as more produce comes available
o 48 – 50 kids participate each week in the Farm Fresh Kids program – many of
them new families (compared to last year).
o About $300.00 in merchandise sales this month
o Some T-shirt sizes are out of stock or running low – Sara asked if she could re-
order to replenish stock – S.C. voted yes to her request.
o $4518 so far in Credit/Debit sales; $2509 in EBT (plus several hundred $
worth of cash sales of tokens (library and UUCH – for gifts)
o Credit/Debit fees are not fully covering the administrative fees for the EBT
machine. Grant funds are helping to cover the difference right now, but we
need to plan for covering these costs in the future
o It was pointed out that these kinds of figures should be part of a regular
Treasurer’s report – Davis is out of Town for this meeting, but his intention is
to have a monthly financial report for each meeting.
o Are there other options for machines?
State of VA has free machines available (but only for Markets that are
starting up new EBT programs)
Square.com is an option for vendors with smart phones – several AFM
vendors already use this and report highly on the technology and cost
In the near future, it may be possible for each vendor to have a swiping
device of some sort that is connected to a central database to accept and
record EBT and Debit/Credit sales with no need for tokens.
o AFMA will be conducting a customer survey at the AFM on Tuesday, July 17th
and on Saturday, July 21st. Several volunteers will be needed to help with
customer counts on those Market days. Contact Sara if you can help.
Sara Away from Market
o Sara will be away on Tuesday, July 10 and will need someone to man the AFM
table and EBT machine and to help with the Farm Fresh Kids program. Sara is
checking for volunteers – no one from the Steering Committee stepped forward
Market Manager Assistance at Market
o A suggestion was made that each week one member of the Steering Committee
will agree to stay after Market to help Sara with closing down the AFM
(collecting signs, putting away tables and tents, etc.).
o Tom will put together a sign up sheet and send it out via email.
Form for AFM Farm Visits
Richard shared a draft form for collecting information on AFM farm visits. A
standardized form can help us to efficiently collect and organize information.
Several folks were concerned about the amount of detail asked for in the form and
wondered if a simpler form might work better.
How do we determine the amount of detail needed? We do get concerns from vendors
and customers about produce sold at AFM that appears to have been purchased
elsewhere for resale.
o Can you tell if a piece of fruit is grown elsewhere by looking at it?
o How do you know the potential yield of a particular tree or plant?
The detail asked in the form can help us make more informed decisions regarding the
likelihood that produce is locally grown – Farmers should know what they have
planted out. We have experienced farmers on the Steering Committee who can make
good estimates of potential yields based on the information collected. This will help us
make a strong statement that we are serious about our producer only status.
Although the form looks imposing, in practice it should be fairly straightforward and
easy to use
o Perhaps growers could even fill the form out in advance of the visit to make
things quicker and easier? Should this be added to the application?
o Some Markets require that farmers get a farm visit before they are allowed to
sell at the Market.
One change suggested for the form: change the greenhouse question to something like:
“Do you plan to use season extension techniques to bring extra early or late products
to Market? If so, what is your plan?”
What about leased or rented land? Generally it is no problem (growers don’t need to
own the land they grow on, just grow the crop themselves), but potentially someone
could “rent” some land in Florida and bring oranges to Market – would that be okay?
What about animal products? Could someone purchase a near-ready animal from
someone else, finish it our and slaughter it for market?
Perhaps we shouldn’t spend valuable time imagining every possible cheating scenario,
but approach these visits with a sense of transparency and an assumption that folks are
complying with the spirit and letter of the rules.
Motion: Richard will amend the form and we will give the form a trial run over the
next month and revisit the process at the August meeting. Seconded and passed.
Sara suggested we shoot for 15 farm visits this year. Another suggestion was made
that we inspect all farms this year. No decision made.
Steering Committee Vacancy
Teresa Jordan has resigned as our customer representative on the Steering Committee
due to new job obligations and a general feeling that the work of the Steering
Committee has become more based on crating and enforcing rules than she is
By-Laws allow the Steering Committee to appoint persons to fill Steering Committee
positions for the interim. Teresa’s seat will be up for re-election in November, but the
Steering Committee agreed that it would be better to have someone in the seat for the
next 4 meetings before the November elections.
Doris Shuman (long-time AFM customer and legal/financial consultant) was
recommended as a potential candidate. No other names were floated, so we decided
that we would offer the seat to Doris Shuman until the November elections
o Postscript: Doris declined the offer, so we will be looking to find a customer
representative to finish out Teresa’s term over the next couple of weeks.
Does a Winter Market fit into our purpose as a Farmers Market? Everyone agreed that
Do we need to uphold our producer-only status during the winter months? There was
strong sentiment that we should which led to a short discussion about rules.
Do we need to draft new rules to cover the Winter Market and Holiday Market, or do
we maintain our current rules?
What should be the frequency of the Winter Market? Monthly? Weekly? Every other
What about fees? Most everyone agreed that full season vendors should not have to
pay extra fees for a managed Winter Market, but daily and new vendors should still be
held to the daily AFM rate ($10.00 / Market).
If we charge for the Winter Market, we will need to have a market manager there to
collect fees and manage set-up and breakdown. Do we have the funds to cover extra
time for Sara? What about the EBT machine – will it be available for use?
Sara will consider and organize the various issues from the market manager standpoint
regarding a managed Winter Market for our August meeting. Steering Committee
members are to review our current rules to see if they need amending for a Winter
Abingdon Market Pavilion Improvements
Someone asked about more permanent curtains for the Abingdon Market Pavilion
which would help to block wind and sunlight and could be used to close off the
interior during times of inclement weather.
o Darnell reported that the Town is considering various options and exploring
funding options for some kind of system that could be rolled up and down as
Monday, August 6 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church