Late Summer/Fall 2018 The Arlington Village Farmers Market began as a six-week test market, the idea being developed by Jim Baker and the members of The Arlington Area Renewal Project. It found quick support in local innkeepers, Eric and Elizabeth Berger, and with The Keelan Family Foundation. The local residents and visiting vacationers made it an immediate success. Thirteen vendors offered local goods, and The Arlington Inn sold small plates on the patio. Shoppers listened to local bands play live music as they strolled in the shade, chatting with friends and meeting new people. Time would fail to mention all the area residents who worked together to pull off this new venture, but they are much appreciated, and many still serve as volunteers each Friday night at the market.
Winter 2018 A holiday market was soon planned, and held at The Federated Church in East Arlington leading up to Christmas, led again by Laurie Glover and other volunteers from The Arlington Area Renewal Project. During this market, Jessica Twardy Roberts became involved, and volunteered as the new market manager.
Summer 2019 The market grew due to the increased support of the town of Arlington and the surrounding area. We joined The Vermont Farmers Market Association and NOFA-VT (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont) and The Farmers Market Coalition. A POP (Power of Produce) Kids' Club proved to be a popular addition, directed by Jessica Bachiochi. This club offered tastes of new and different produce each week, fun activities and simple crafts. Each child earned POP BUCK$ which could only be spent on fresh produce. The Battenkill Valley Health Center, our local public schools, and the Bachiochi family raised $1,000.00 to provide the needed supplies for the club. Other clubs and organizations like The Arlington Garden Club offered additional kid-friendly educational activities. The market grew to 34 booths market stretching across The Arlington Inn's lawn, and showcasing the goods, art and services of 65 vendors.
Summer 2020 In 2020, The Arlington Village Farmers Market, Inc. was founded as its own state recognized non-profit entity, with a board of directors including Jessica Twardy Roberts, Jessica Bachiochi, Olavi Wirkki, and Pat Williams. Planning began for 2020, but was threatened by the global pandemic of Covid-19. Governor Scott closed all farmers markets for a short time, while the threat was assessed, and later opened them with new guidelines. The music and event days had to be cancelled (later reopened), and the POP Club took place entirely online. We adapted so farmers who wished to vend their goods, and shoppers who wanted to buy fresh and local food could do so in a safe and secure market. We were supported by various grants and donations including the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Rural Vermont, in collaboration with the High Meadows Fund, NOFA-VT, and the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. We’d also like to thank the High Meadows Fund for their donation of several bottles of sanitizer, and for some additional face masks. Your kind donation was much appreciated as we worked to keep our volunteers safe. Our market was 100% volunteer-powered! The Bank of Bennington became a sponsor in 2020, providing a new website for our new non-profit. This enabled not only easy access to online ordering for curbside pickup, but also provided a platform for our popular kids' club, POP to move online - thank you! In the fall, two hardworking and dedicated summer volunteers, Jean Freebern and Debralyn Stempel, joined the AVFM board. The University of Vermont's Agricultural Engineering Extension kindly provided a hand-washing station in the midst of the pandemic.
Summer 2021 We have new challenges to face, and new opportunities to grow. We are excited to be moving the market this summer to the Arlington Rec Park. Partnering with the town will both bring shoppers to enjoy all our park has to offer, and provide a safe place for our market while some needed sidewalk repairs occur at the former location. We have a strong commitment to the community and to supporting local agriculture, as well as providing an incubation space for burgeoning small businesses. The Keelan Family Foundation again donated funds as volunteers began planning the 2021 season. We heard our farmers and vendors request for a longer market season, and have increased from a ten week market to a fourteen week market, while working to keep farmer fees low. We are looking to start a brand new program this year, with the launch sponsored in part by The Bank of Bennington. This food accessibility program works with the Vermont Department of Agriculture to encourage and enable shoppers to benefit from fresh, local, and organic foods. It also supports local farms and farmers which is a win for everyone, and can help our market grow. This program is already in place in many farmers markets across the state and we are excited at the prospect of offering it here in Arlington. Local businesses became sponsors on the 2021 tote bag to help raise funds to improve the market, and TPW Real Estate became a new sponsor for the 2021 Summer Music Series (see schedule). We deeply appreciate the community support the AVFM enjoys.