After careful consideration, the board of directors of Neighborhood Roots has decided to take Nokomis Farmers Market on hiatus for the 2022 market season. The organization is focusing on fundraising and strategic planning, as well as on the operations of their two other markets, Kingfield and Fulton Farmers Markets. With the support of vendors, donors, volunteers and other community partners, Neighborhood Roots hopes to bring back Nokomis Farmers Market in 2023.
Farmers markets are vital community gathering spaces. They build connections, improve livability, and provide food and other necessities to those who need them. They strengthen the local economy by growing and sustaining small businesses. We are lucky to have so many farmers markets in the Twin Cities, each with their own mission and organizational model. Neighborhood Roots is a local nonprofit that operates Fulton, Kingfield and Nokomis Farmers Markets. Our mission is to bring neighbors together to buy, eat and learn about local food. We support local farmers and small businesses, promote vibrant communities and affect important changes in food and agriculture policy.
Neighborhood Roots relies on fundraising from business sponsorships, grants and individual donations to maintain operations. Before the 2020 market season, fundraising comprised over half of the organization’s operating revenue. But in 2020, fundraising came in 40 percent below budget—a devastating statistic that dropped to nearly 70 percent in 2021, likely due to the pandemic’s similarly devastating impact on local businesses and their ability to sponsor the markets. To make up such a large budget deficit, the organization’s only options are to increase fees to vendors or to reduce operating expenses.
When deciding where to reduce operating expenses, the board analyzed the revenue and expenses for operating each of the three weekly markets. After extensive discussion, the board has made the difficult decision to suspend the Nokomis Farmers Market for the 2022 season. Putting a pause on Nokomis provides the organization the capacity to reset and strategize about how to come back stronger in 2023 through new and improved neighborhood partnerships, business sponsors and a deep bench of volunteers.
Thank you to our vendors and shoppers for making the market such a special community space for the last seven years. We also want to acknowledge the generous support of our community partners, including Hale Page Diamond Lake Community Organization, Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group, Heather’s Restaurant and First Free Church.
The Neighborhood Roots board of directors did not make this decision lightly. Farmers rely on all three markets to sell their produce, and small vendors rely on markets like Nokomis Farmers Market to launch and sustain their business dreams. But without reliable sources of funding for the 2022 season, it would be fiscally irresponsible for the board to continue to operate beyond our current capacity. We fully intend to bring back Nokomis Farmers Market in 2023, but we need your help. Consider becoming a sponsor, volunteer, donor, or board member for Neighborhood Roots. Together we can make the market happen.
HISTORY OF NOKOMIS FARMERS MARKET
In 2012, Neighborhood Roots was approached by the Hale-Page-Diamond Lake Neighborhood Association about their desire to start a new neighborhood farmers market. After careful consideration, the decision was made to launch three pilot markets during the summer of 2014. Nokomis Farmers Market took place mid-week on Wednesday evenings – the perfect opportunity to catch up on shopping and spend a quality summer afternoon with friends and neighbors! The enthusiasm of the neighborhood in 2014 lead to the launch of a once weekly Wednesday afternoon market in 2015. The 2021 season will mark the seventh full-season for Nokomis. Sixteen weeks of local food, music and fun!