Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market Manager Earns Certification
Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market manager Walt Gajewski recently completed the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) Market Manager Certification Program, earning the title “Certified Market Manager”.
The Market Manager Certification Program was started by the Michigan Farmers Market Association in 2010 to help market managers acquire the critical skills necessary to ensure the long term success and vitality of Michigan Farmers Markets. At present, Michigan is the only state in the country to offer a formal certification program for market managers. To date, 66 market managers have been certified, including Gajewski.
“Farmington has a great market because of the commitment of the Downtown Development Authority on top of just overwhelming community support. My certification is a reflection of how much of an asset the market is to the greater Farmington community and the high expectations placed on its stewardship. I’m here to say the prospects look bright,” said Gajewski.
Gajewski is in his second year of managing the Farmers Market. Credited with the reorganization of the market for greater efficiency, reintroducing music as a result of increased sponsorships, attraction of many new vendors which increased the diversity and quality of the product mix and growth in the number of market volunteers and their activity level, the Farmers Market has flourished under his leadership. The market runs every Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., May 5 through Nov. 17.
As farmers markets grow and expand throughout the state, totaling more than 280 markets in Michigan in 2011, so do the needs of the individuals who run these markets and make them a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products.
“MIFMA was thrilled to work with and certify so many qualified farmers market managers for this program committed to growing and improving their markets,” said Dru Montri, MIFMA Director.
Certificates were awarded to 29 farmers market managers from across the state who completed the full six-day program, offering acknowledgement to market organizers and vendors that the market manager is a trained professional.
Each market manager had the opportunity to network with other managers around the state over eight weeks and learn topics like Business Planning and Market Growth Management, Market Governance, Policy and Enforcement, Group Dynamics and Conflict Management, Marketing and Outreach, and Fundraising. A final manager-to-manager education and networking opportunity completed the program focusing on sharing experiences and lessons learned.
MIFMA advances farmers markets to create a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products and places farmers markets at the forefront of the local food movement, working to ensure all residents have access to healthy, locally grown food and that Michigan farmers markets receive policy support. To learn more MIFMA, visit www.mifma.org.