Video transcript -
Karyna Goldsmith: When you think about a farmers' market, and maybe before I got involved in the way that I am now, about eight years ago, you see it as an opportunity to go and check out the knickknacks and maybe see if there's something tasty to eat. But, when you really start to dig down into a farmers' market, you really find this magical oasis of all the things that make you feel like you're part of a community.
So, my name is Karyna Goldsmith. And I'm the executive director of the South Perry Farmers' Market in Spokane. And most farmers' markets, really their mission statements or their values, their identities are rooted in one of three things, and sometimes all three of them. One of which being providing a place to the community where people can come together and really forego maybe a lot of their differences, the things that keep them separate or different, and come together and talk about how to cook arugula, or ask about the weather, or find out about what's going on in the neighborhood. And it's a safe place for kids and families to come, a safe place for kids after school who don't have anywhere else to go, to have people that they see every week and check in with them, to give them a sample of chips and salsa, or a piece of bread, or get a chance to eat a radish.
And then, there's another component of a farmers' market, which is really something that I feel really strongly about, and that's to promote food access. So, at the South Perry Farmers' Market, and almost all of the Spokane County farmers' market, and many of the markets across the entire United States, those markets take EBT or SNAP currency. That's like what is traditionally known as like a food stamps card. Right? And they come and they use their EBT card at the farmers' market. And, for every dollar that they spend at the farmers' market on fresh, local, healthy food, this federal government money, right, coming right into our local economy, they get a dollar for dollar match to spend on fruits and vegetables or plant starts so that they can grow a garden.
So, then you really come to the heart of what makes a farmers' market a farmers' market, and that's the farmer. And that's really providing an opportunity for these folks that sometimes live just a mile or two away from where their marketplace is. And sometimes they're living really rural and coming a great distance and providing economic viability to these rural neighborhoods, the livelihood of these small, independent farmers and giving them the opportunity to educate people about food, to grow food, to keep dynamic and diverse plants alive in this world. So, a farmers' market is just this magical place where those three things come together. Right? And they give us an opportunity to create this marketplace that supports the community in lots of different ways.
It's also a great place where these businesses come, small businesses. Right? And it's kind of a business incubator in lots of ways. There's lots of really big, successful companies that have made it on a national level that got their start at a farmers' market, having the opportunity to stand there and to talk to someone about their product and to get this feedback each week about what do they do with it, how do they like it, and tweak it, and customize it so that eventually it becomes something that is life sustaining in lots of ways, grows big and is accessible to all.