January 31, 2011
It may be the middle of winter, but the state’s farmers markets are thinking
ahead to another growing season. The Washington State Farmers Market Association held its annual conference Friday
and Saturday at Leavenworth’s Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort.
The WSFMA provides
resources and education to its 110 member markets, lobbying in Olympia, and offers the group insurance that
markets need to legally operate.
Association president Joel Wachs said the conference drew
a wide representation of members from all across the state and even from Moscow, Idaho.
The conference is an opportunity for growers, vendors, and market managers to learn from experts on growing and
sustaining successful farmers markets. Washington has seen a precipitous growth in the number of markets, from
just 8 in the late 1970s to roughly 150 today.
Wachs said Washington has embraced farmers
markets, with new markets forming each season. He attributed that rapid growth in part to the local community
aspect of farmers markets.
Despite the growth in the number of markets, 2010 was a tough
year from both an economic and growing season perspective. Washington State Farmers Market Association President
Joel Wachs joined Isaac Kaplan-Woolner to update on the state of the state’s farmers markets.
/> This is the first year that the annual convention has been held at The Sleeping Lady, which
was chosen in part for it’s central location in the state.