Meet our Board Members: Lacey Templeton
Lacey Templeton is on the General Board for the Georgia Farmers Market Association, representing the Piedmont region. She is the market manager for the Mulberry Market in Tattnall Square Park, Macon. The market is a producer-only market, open every Wednesday year around, selling produce, proteins, baked goods, pasture-raised eggs, loose teas, dog treats, herbs, flowers, goat's milk body products, and even ice cream in the summer
Why did you join GFMA?
I joined the GFMA so that I could be a part of helping Georgia farmers and farmer's markets not only be sustainable but flourish and thrive. Farming and feeding Georgia residents ought to naturally go hand in hand, and I believe that the GFMA is in a fantastic position to help facilitate that.
As a board member, how do you support the work of GFMA?
I look to include the GFMA in every community event I attend, including my own market. We've invited the GFMA to our city-wide Earth Day celebration, and will always take information to health fairs, speaking engagements, and conferences.
What GFMA benefit are you most excited about implementing at your market?
I would love to get all of my vendors signed up with the GFMA. I think that the networking and marketing potential is huge and very beneficial. I believe that when they are more successful, the market as a whole will grow.
Tell us some interesting facts about your region.
We are right in the middle of the state, so we get a little bit of all of the climates. Some of the interesting things we grow include persimmons, asparagus, mushrooms, peaches, berries. We have vendors from a few counties contiguous to Bibb County and a wide variety of products from each.
What do you think are the greatest needs in your community that your market helps to address?
Food access is by far the biggest. Our closest grocery store is only about 1.6 miles away from the market, but the streets that lead there have no sidewalks and lead through neighborhoods where there are many stray dogs. Our public transportation system is sparse in its routes. We see many shoppers who either walk or get rides from their homes each week, and they rely on our market for the bulk of their shopping. In fact, we see the same people each week and have for a few years. It's very wonderful.
What do you hope to see happen in 2016?
I'd love to see a higher rate of SNAP redemption at farmer's markets and farms all across Georgia.
What advice would you give to new farmers who want to sell at markets?
Market yourself. Don't leave all of the marketing up to the manager. The market's social media outlets are much easier to manage if we are able to share your own posts. Take lots of photos! Be patient. Establishing customers at a market can take some time, but the easiest ways to do it are being willing to talk not only about your produce but about yourself. You have stories and people LOVE stories.
What advice would you give to groups wanting to start a market?
Don't be afraid to accept SNAP. There is some training and minimal weekly paperwork, and the benefits FAR outweigh the work.
Learn more about the Mulberry Market at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulberryStreetMarket/