2018 was a big year for the St. John’s Farmers’ Market. It moved into its permanent home at 245 Freshwater Road just six months ago, and it already feels like an essential space, one that we’d been lacking for a long time.
In 2018, readers of The Overcast voted it “Best Thing to Happen in 2018.” “So many people’s reaction, when they came to the new Market for the first time, was ‘Finally!’,” says Josh Smee, Chair of the St. John’s Farmers Market.
So, SJFM is a big hit. They do a ton of community engagement. Everybody’s on board. The only question is “What’s next?” We talked to Josh about what’s coming to market in 2019.
New market dates and formats:
“One big piece of our consumer research right now is about adding a new date or format. We’re kicking around the idea of a food-focused evening market (potentially with a cash bar), artisan markets on Sundays, or additional regular market dates seasonally. Look for plans to be announced this winter!”
Market Shop and Coffee Shop:
You might have noticed a booth set up with a “market shop” sign. “In 2019, that will launch as a small shop that offers patrons access to products from vendors who aren’t on site that day, as well as Market merch,” says Smee, who notes that they’re also looking at expanding the hours of the on-site coffee shop.
Events in the green space:
“Once the weather turns warmer, look for more events – things like plays, classes, music, yoga – happening out on the lawn in front of the CRA Tax Centre next door,” says Smee. “We just secured a lease on the front corner of that lawn that gives us the freedom to organize activities there, which is a huge asset to the Market for sure.”
More events in the building outside of Markets:
“Over the last few months, we’ve been pilot-testing how the Community Market works as an event venue, and it’s been great,” says Smee. “We’ve had academic conferences, concerts, festivals, pop-up markets, and lots more happen there. Many of these have been rentals, so if you have a fun idea for something in the Community Market space, we’re all ears right now. 2019 will see a big scale-up on this.”
“We’re always looking for other community organizations to partner with on things that will animate the Market space,” says Smee. “In 2019, we’ll have MUN’s Folklore students doing a residency collecting stories, entrepreneurship competitions, workshops, and lots more.” They’re also looking at having dedicated booth space just for youth entrepreneurs to be able to test-drive a business idea for a week or two, as well as rotating non-profit accessible space.
“Reducing waste has been a big part of our mission at the SJFM,” says Smee. “We’ve got all the reusable dishware and equipment to handle it, which has brought our waste much lower, but there’s still more we can do to minimize our environmental impact.”
More feedback from you:
“We actually really want to hear back from readers on this,” says Smee. “We have a customer survey open at stjohnsfarmersmarket.ca/survey where folks can tell us what they’d like to see happen at the Market.”