On October 18th, the New Glasgow Farmers Market was the recipient of the 2017 Leadership in Business Award, awarded by the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by Mac, Mac & Mac.
As described, the Leadership in Business Award is “presented to a business that is a leader in its sector and a significant contributor to a stable local economy. This business strives to be the best in class in all that it does from employee relations and customer service to exceptional financial results.”
That’s a pretty huge compliment! Of course, I am a little passionate about our market and local and as such, I have never been accused of being short on words. I had a speech written so that I could be sure to get across what I wanted to say on behalf of the Market and it looked short at the time but once I was up there, not so much. In the interest of time, couldn’t quite manage to get it all out.
Below is what I wanted to say and what I had written. It’s been edited for context, but mostly I want to be clear that this is a team achievement. We are a co-operative. This is a win for us as a whole Market. An enormous amount of work and dedication goes into the Market from a whole lot of people and the Market is supported by the community. When you show up to shop, attend our events and bring your friends, you are supporting farmers, artisans, musicians and entrepreneurs. Any local business requires local patrons to shop and support it. We are no different.
Here’s entirety of what I wanted to say on behalf of our Market:
“Thanks to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce. We are very honoured to receive this award and to even be considered a leader in present company is very humbling. In truth, the Market represents more than 70 individual leaders and I am thrilled to accept this award on their behalf. The Market is a bit of an enigma, not really fitting in anywhere in particular which makes this even more special for us. We are unique in that we offer a space for a number of farmers, food producers, artisans and local musicians to come and showcase their work that is low cost and low risk. All of our vendors have different reasons for attending, some are there to test new products and use the Market as a springboard into bigger ventures, others are there for the social aspects and to keep busy. For some the Market is a livelihood, for others a hobby and for some it’s a way to fund other endeavors.
It is the Market’s goal to join producers to the community and connect people with their food through education and awareness in a marketplace, something that has been lost in decades gone by. And while our primary focus is education and awareness, it is also to connect people personally in a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal.
We want to make a positive, lasting impact on our community and being an independent, non-profit organization run by volunteers, it’s not always easy. But as the song goes, we get by with a little help from our friends. We are lucky to have some great partners and cheerleaders in our corner. The Town of New Glasgow, the Municipality of the County of Pictou and our community who helped us to double in size over the past couple of years and this year some of our business community came together to help us install our new “Giving Garden:
As a result, we have enjoyed a 30% increase in traffic this season. We are now able to remain open year-round, which gives increased “employment” to our vendors. We now have one full time employee and have doubled our vendor capacity. We hold special and unique events not just to raise money for improvements and programs, but in an effort to connect Pictou County residents to each other and the broader community by highlighting all of the amazing innovation, creativity and uniqueness that this county has to offer and showcasing it to everyone we can. We offer a unique setting that is inclusive of everyone in a fun and casual atmosphere, reflective of the warmth of Maritime culture. The Market is a place where vendors and customers alike get to associate with people they may never have otherwise connected with and learn about other cultures. I often refer to it as my happy place and we strive to make it everyone’s happy place.
We are committed to supporting local agriculture, we continue to strive to make a positive contribution to local business and bettering our community. Thanks again for this recognition and we’ll see you at the Market!”
Thanks for reading and sharing. Most of all, thank you for supporting. We are lucky to live in a community rich in creative, innovative, dedicated, talented people and organizations. With the holiday season knocking at our door, we really encourage you to shop local and show them your support. And of course, no matter where you live, visit your local Farmers Market!