WESTFIELD-As Westfield Farmers’ Market organizers put the finishing touches on logistics for this season which is scheduled to open June 3, a host of volunteers are still needed to ensure a successful year.
“There can be no market without our volunteers,” said Mary Kadomoto, who serves as the market manager, noting she is hopeful that seasoned volunteers as well as new community members will want to get involved in the endeavor.
“We plan to open with very similar health protocols as last season,” said Kadomoto, adding that masks, social distancing and hand sanitizing will be observed.
The market management team recently submitted an updated comprehensive plan for opening the market to the city’s Board of Health and is awaiting approval.
Kadomoto noted there are varied roles for volunteers to consider – as well as on rotating shifts – during the market season. The farmers’ market is slated to run from June 3 to Oct. 14.
“We need three to four volunteers for our set-up crew,” said Kadomoto, noting volunteers are responsible for setting up shade canopies, market tables and chairs, signage, perimeter tape, and supplies from 10 a.m.-noon.
During the first shift from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., volunteers are needed for roles including entrance host, SNAP processor, floating hosts and an exit host.
The entrance host welcomes customers, monitors the entrance, ensures hand sanitizer and masks are being used, explains the layout of the market and answers questions.
“Our SNAP processor will process SNAP/EBT card purchases using market tablet and equipment, will process credit card purchases, and explain SNAP and HIP programs,” said Kadomoto.
The role of floating hosts includes answering questions, reminding customers of one way flow of traffic and social distancing as needed, and to fill in for other volunteers taking breaks.
“Our exit host thanks customers, encourages them to come next week, answers questions, and counts customers exiting the market,” said Kadomoto.
The second shift is organized from 2:30-5 p.m. and includes the same roles as the first shift.
“We also need three to four volunteers for our take-down crew,” said Kadomoto, noting those volunteers work from 5-6 p.m. “Volunteers will take down shade canopies, fold and put away tables and chairs, gather and put away supplies, take down signage, empty trash, take down perimeter tape, and ensure the lawn is clean and clear.”
Volunteers are also needed to handle market communications and newsletters, take photographs and update social media platforms, write grant applications, and distribute lawn signs.
“We also need technical assistance for our mailing lists and spreadsheets,” said Kadomoto, adding that anyone proficient at Weebly software is especially sought for website updates.
For persons interested in volunteering this market season, send Kadomoto an email to [email protected] and describe which roles you are willing to fill and a time shift that works best for your schedule.
“Prior to opening the market we will hold online training sessions to present and explain the comprehensive plan including safe sanitizing methods for all vendors and volunteers,” said Kadomoto, adding, “regarding COVID-19 procedures, we will continue to put the health and safety of all customers, volunteers and vendors as a top priority. We are working with the Westfield Department of Health and continue to watch for updates to the state guidelines.”
On a related note, Kadomoto said 10 vendors have applied for seasonal slots at press time.
“Vendors have until May 1 to register at a reduced fee ($50 prior to May 1 and $60 after May 1),” said Kadomoto, adding that participation fees are due by May 21.
Vendors signed up for the new season include:
– AeroGreen Urban Farm – an aeroponic/hydroponic farm with lettuces, greens, microgreens and herbs.
– Berkshire Mountain Bakery with breads.
– Desserts by Jo Jo featuring baked goods, cupcakes, cookies, scones and cakes.
– Pitchfork Farm with bison, elk, pork, chicken, eggs, feathers and bones.
– Sandy Hill Apiary with honey products.
– Jonathan Tetherly with plants, compost and maple syrup.
– Bev’s Patchwork with aprons, mittens, masks and many other fabric items.
– Ishkibbile Crafts with wooden spoons, bird houses, wooden toys and more.
– Mark’s Clay Creations with handmade polymer clay jewelry, and
- Mike’s Crafts with wooden creations including turkey calls, walking sticks, clocks and more.
“We are excitedly anticipating each new application received and hope for a full and varied market,” said Kadomoto. “We’ve received many more inquiries and are expecting more applications. We are expecting to add some grab-and-go prepared food as well.”
Vendors can request an application by sending an email to [email protected].