Things are looking good for a farmers market in Needham. On November 29, fourteen enthusiastic people met at First Parish Church to begin the rather long planning process that will include finding a site, applying for permits, contracting with farmers and other vendors, and countless other details. A steering committee formed and pledged to gather information about how other towns began their markets.
The wide-ranging discussion at the meeting uncovered a great deal of consensus. The site should be in the center of Needham for high visibility and easy access from all neighborhoods to encourage travel by foot and bike. A town center location would also promote business for local stores and restaurants.
Most people saw the benefits of a weekend market for attracting all age groups and allowing for ancillary fun activities such as games for children and music performances. Needham is very quiet in the summer and a weekend market would provide a destination that would bring people together.
Everyone would love to launch the market by July 2011, but they realize it may take longer. A big question is whether Roche Bros. and/or Whole Foods would agree to participate in some way or be corporate sponsors. Volante Farm, which already provides fabulous fresh, local produce to Needham residents, could see even more business with a second outlet and growing demand for local food. Roche Bros. could promote their organic line of foods, and Whole Foods already sponsors farmers markets in other towns.
Everyone at the meeting was convinced that a farmers market would make Needham a healthier, more interesting and cohesive town. The next meeting will be in January. Stay tuned!