Farmers market manager needed

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For more than 10 years, the Belen Farmers Market was the first of its kind in Valencia County to provide fresh, locally grown produce and goods to residents.

But this year, it might not be returning to Anna Becker Park if a market manager isn't found.

Former market manager Jenniffer Singleterry has searched for a manager to undertake market operations since October and has come up empty handed in finding an individual to take over the reigns for the part-time position.

If she doesn't find an individual before the market is scheduled to begin in June, it won't be coming back to the Hub City .

"There won't be one in Belen," Singleterry said.

Singleterry managed the market for six years until she passed her duties onto a new manager last year. In the span of one farmers market season, the market changed hands twice with both market managers leaving the position for a full-time job, Singleterry said.

The market manager is tasked with recording and tracking the market's revenue and expenses, setting up and tearing down equipment for the market, coordinating community events during the four-month-long market and notifying residents and vendors from around the state to shop or sell their goods at the Friday afternoon market.

Market managers earn $65 a week, plus receive free vendor space for their efforts.

Interested individuals must have experience with a farmers market through attendance, vending or management.

Having a farmers market nearby provides residents with a local market to purchase fresh produce picked less than 24 hours prior, supports local growers in selling fruits and vegetables at competitive prices with grocery stores and brings attendees together to socialize and hang out with their neighbors, Singleterry said.

Without a Belen market, these gardeners and residents would need to travel outside of the city for the same resources, limiting their ability to receive them.

Vendors come from as far away as Socorro and Santa Fe to sell their goods, but Singleterry said most vendors are backyard gardeners in Valencia County sharing their annual pesticide-free crops with the community.

"One couple had a quarter of an acre and they brought tons of produce," she said.

During the farmers market's peak season, vendors overflowed out of the 35 allotted spaces available for them at the park, located on Reinken Avenue and North Fourth Street.

"Sometimes we even had to have people set up in the middle of the park," Singleterry said.

Fruits and vegetables were available for purchase with not only cash, but New Mexico Women, Infants and Children funds, EBT/debit and the Farmers Market Nutrition Enhancement Program, which provides low-income Valencia County seniors with state-funded assistance.

For more information about the Belen Farmers Market manager position, contact Jenniffer Singleterry at 401-4390.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.