AmeriCorps VISTA Ashley’s first experience at the last market of the season

In late-June 2019, I found out Athens, Georgia would become my new home in August after accepting the AmeriCorps VISTA Public Relations Coordinator position. I was excited, but also nervous for what was to come when I decided to accept a job in a city I knew little about. 

Over the past four months, I have learned some of Athens history and even made a goal to to try all of the restaurants local, and unique to Athens. I Google searched most of the tourist sites and read brochures to familiarize myself with the area and I still have so much to explore! 

Working at Athens Land Trust introduced me to West Broad Farmers Market. I read articles on the market, looked at pictures from over the years, and watched how market goers interact with the market via social media. I told myself I would go to at least one market before the end of the season, but could not pull myself out of bed early on a Saturday morning. 

On December 14, 2019 I attended my first, but the last farmers market at the Historic West Broad school site. I walked in not knowing what to expect, exactly. I parked, and walked up the entrance steps on the Minor St. entry. I could hear live, soulful music from a band with Lady B as the emcee. Immediately, I was greeted by so many familiar faces I’ve seen at Athens Land Trust and it was a celebration! 

I walked further into the market to where the vendors were set up. There were three rows of vendors, eager to sell me their products. I walked and shopped around. I passed by my colleagues from Athens Land Trust on every row, and even made a new friend, who I share the same hometown with! I made new connections at the market and finally felt a sense of belonging to Athens. 

I bought personalized Christmas ornaments from Jenna’s Gems, a bowtie for my nephew from Helvey Handmade, and incense and hot cocoa from some of ALT’s Young Urban Farmers. I was so excited to finally sample and purchase hand-blended tea from MEplusTEA! 

During my time at Athens Land Trust, I’ve listened to many stories of how this farmers market has positively impacted the West Broad community. It is a gathering space for residents, vendors, friends, and families. To see and experience the market first-hand was unforgettable. 

The sense of community I felt from ALT employees, vendors, volunteers, and most importantly West Broad residents made me realize that I missed out for so many months! It also makes me look forward to the next market season and Opening Day in 2020. I can’t wait for the announcement of the new site and what 2020 will offer for West Broad Farmers Market! 

I hope to see you there!