How long has the market been operating?
This is our third year.
What is your role with the market?
The newsletter, paperwork. We set up every Saturday morning at 6:30. We set up the information booth. We bring all of the cash for the markets. We handle all the SNAP transactions, Double Up books, senior vouchers; any information for the market.
We help our vendors set up. What else? Anything we’ve forgotten? Oh! Social and welcoming committee!
How did you get involved with the market?
Brook: I went to a meeting with Travis (Slankard, market founder). It was a community meeting with several topics and one of them was wanting to start a market. I talked to him afterward and then at the next meeting he introduced me as the market treasurer! So I was kind of wrangled in, but I’m glad it worked out really well!
Cassandra: Same! I was looking for an opportunity to impact food insecurity in the local area. When I head about the farmers market, everyone just kept telling me, ‘Go see Travis.’ So I did, and yeah, same. I got kind of roped into being a secretary.
Why was this market started?
We used to have a grocery store just about a block from here. It closed a few years ago, and leaving no food access, access to fresh fruits and vegetables anywhere in the main part of Bonner Springs. We have Price Chopper and Walmart out on the edge of town, but there’s nothing that people that live in the senior housing or the low-income housing can walk to. So we wanted to bring fresh fruits and vegetables back to the city.
What makes this market unique?
Cassandra: I think what makes us special is that we have a really diverse market and we try to make sure that we have a little bit of everything and not too much of one thing.
We have a lot of produce vendors. But we also have a soap person that does bath and body products. We have folks that do signs. We have a paper person that does paper products. But we don’t allow anything that’s not handmade or hand-grown. What we don’t want to become is a flea market. We want it to be mostly fresh food with a little bit of variety sprinkled throughout.
Brook: I think another thing that makes our market really special is that we’re volunteer-run. It was started by all volunteers. We’re here every week because we want to be here, and we believe in the market. We’re very much like a little family. We try to help our vendors set up, and we have a big potluck at the end of the year. We try to make it more than just a business transaction.
How many people attend this market?
We’ve only counted one time. It was pouring down rain, and we counted three to four hundred people. So we get a pretty good turnout. Of course like anything, it’s a flow. Some week are higher, some weeks are lower.
How many farmers vend at this market?
We normally have between 12 and 20 vendors. That can vary based on time of season and weather.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Cassandra: My favorite part is the community of it. Like I feel l run into here that I don’t normally see. I’m truly invested in each person that’s here, and what they’re doing, and believe in what they’re selling and do what I can to support them; and that feels really good.
Brook: Like Cassandra said, the community. My closest group of friends are people I met at the market from volunteering here. I definitely think it’s community and the chance to hang out with my friends every week. You meet people in the community and see people you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s really great when you see people walk through the market, and they give each other hugs. There’s just a lot of connections.
What else do you want to say?
Gosh, I don’t know. That we’re out here every Saturday until 12, May through October. We’re always looking for new vendors. They have to grow or hand-make their own products. We do allow a small amount of supplementation, but it has to be grown within 200 miles of the market. What else? We’d love everybody to come see us!
Also, on our website is a list of and profile for each vendor, and where they are located on the weekend to make it easy for our customers to find their favorite vendor!
May through October
Saturdays: 8 am to noon