The goal of many community farmers markets is to provide a location for community members to access local fresh products and to cultivate the local economy. The Bridgeport Farmers Market does just that and then some! Since 2009, the farmers market has developed and grown into a well known weekly feature during the summer months and monthly feature during winter months. Participants can access local fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, breads, meats, eggs and a number of other local products. In addition to the products offered by local vendors, the market is home to a weekly music series, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and a number of artisans.
Organizing and fulfilling the Bridgeport Farmers Market’s mission to “create and sustain a community of local vendors and supportive customers in order to cultivate the local economy and provide fresh, healthy food to the people of North Central West Virginia,” is a very difficult task that is done through volunteers. Each week the event must be organized and set up to encourage community participation. This is done through a network of volunteers led by Deb Workman and the Bridgeport Farmers Market Board and they have been selected as June’s Celebrating Volunteers winner to honor and encourage their work to bring healthy living to our area.
Workman and a number of other Bridgeport community members began discussions and the creation of the market in the Spring of 2009. A steering committee was created among business owners, residents, city officials and others to found and create the Bridgeport Farmers Market. The farmers market has taken on a notion of its own to become a destination market that allows people to attend, shop and spend the day with the sights and sounds of local vendors and artisans. It is not rare to have families come to the market, eat the made to order offerings and spend a warm and sunny afternoon listening to a local musician while watching a local chef or artisan prepare a product for purchase. It has been the primary goal of Workman and the Board to create a sustainable market to be experienced by many for years to come.
“We are constantly bringing in new volunteers to keep the market alive and progressing,” stated Deb Workman. “It’s become a festival of sorts every Sunday for twenty-two weeks. Our volunteers are incredibly committed because they believe in what we are doing in every aspect.”
“One of the special aspects of North Central West Virginia is the local communities and their citizens.” Gretchen Ross of WBOY stated. “The Bridgeport Farmers Market, through Deb and all of the volunteers, creates a warm and welcoming event that brings together the community while positively impacting the local economy while supporting local vendors and artisans. I look forward to attending the market each summer and appreciate the hard work it takes organizing it each week.”
“West Virginia has a long history of artistry and agriculture. The Bridgeport Farmers Market optimizes that, and allows those great traditions to continue,” said Tim Miley, owner of The Miley Legal Group. “The hardwork of Deb Workman and everyone involved allows our community to experience what our area has to offer while further enhancing our economy. I appreciate their work and am honored to bring attention to it.”
The Celebrating Volunteers awardees receive public recognition for not only themselves, but their organization. They also receive a $500 contribution to the organization they represent in their name. Gretchen Ross of WBOY TV and Tim Miley of The Miley Legal Group work together to select the awardees from the many nominations received from the public. The volunteer selected will have demonstrated their commitment to an organization through volunteerism and support.
Photo (L-R): Gretchen Ross (WBOY), Doug Miley (MLG), Deb Workman and Athena Freedlander both of Bridgeport Farmers Market.