The Royal City Farmers Market AGM was held January 28. For those who were unable to attend, we are posting the text of the speeches each board member gave to summarize our progress in the 2009 market year.
We begin with the President’s Report from Andrew Murray, followed by reports from Market Manager Jen Arbo, Treasurer Sheila Rowswell and Vendor Liaison Will Tomkinson. Thanks again to everyone who came out in support of the Royal City Farmers Market!
Our 2009 summer market season proved to be as successful if not more so as our first season. Blessed with good weather for all but one market we saw significant increases in attendance and the number of vendors at the market. We averaged approximately 35 vendors/mkt. a 30% increase over our first year.
We were fortunate to become part of the Nutrition Coupon Program which allowed 50 low income families to come to the market and redeem coupons for fresh fruit and vegetables. The redemption rate was 88% and we’re hoping to be able to offer the program in 2010.
We also introduced Art in the Park this year which allowed local artists to come, set up and receive some valuable exposure in the community. Some were able to sell their work for the first time due to being at the Market.
We addressed our long term storage issue by purchasing a trailer mid way through the summer. Being able to store all our equipment in one place has saved us a lot of time as well as alleviating some aching lower backs.
Our website has been completely redone and is now a much more effective marketing tool. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. It’s clear that social media is a very effective way of increasing our core support.
The Board made the decision to go ahead with a series of Winter Markets on a trial basis. We based our decision on the over 250 surveys we did during the summer market season. From the surveys it was clear there was demand for us to have a year round presence in the community. Our first two markets to date at Holy Trinity Cathedral have been well received and we’ll be evaluating the decision in the spring.
From a financial perspective the RCFM is on solid footing, our revenues rose significantly this season and we were prudent in managing our expenses. The hiring of Jen Arbo as our Operations Manager has proven to be probably the best decision we made all year. Jen has done a wonderful job for the Market and has demonstrated amazing organizational skills – plus she makes a pretty mean cup of chai tea!
The 2009 Board of Directors have been a dedicated and passionate group who have worked extremely well together this past year. It’s been a pleasure to be involved with them and I thank them for all their hard work.