INDIANAPOLIS — More than two months into the market season, downtown Indianapolis’ Original Farmer’s Market is still desperate for volunteers.
“It’s just really hard to find a volunteer base right now,” said Mandy Wright-Jarrett, Operations & Facility Manager for the Indianapolis City Market. “This location is important because we have a food accessibility issue here.”
Wright-Jarrett said volunteers are needed to assist with the market’s Fresh Bucks program, to process SNAP and EBT transactions, and help vendors set up and tear down booths each Wednesday.
“We really only have one consistent volunteer right now and we really need 3-4 consistent volunteers each market event each week,” Wright-Jarrett said.
Despite being a rain-or-shine market, Wright-Jarrett said she has seen several volunteers sign up and fail to show up when it rains.
“It’s been the wettest farmers market I’ve ever headed up,” said Wright-Jarrett. “This is probably our third or fourth sunny day out of the whole season.”
Vendors like Van Antwerp’s Farm Market said they rely heavily on volunteers to bring a welcoming ambiance to the market and to ensure customers want to come back.
“They’re very crucial,” said Megan Ritz with VanAntwerps Farm Market. “If we had more, they could help us with setting up, or helping customers know where things are located.”
Ritz said VanAntwerps arrives at each market with a truckload of food, but not everything gets sold in a day. At the end of each day, volunteers also help tear down booths and donate the remaining produce.
“With three people [working the booth] it is a little challenging, but we can make it work,” said Ritz.
“[Vendors] understand that we’re in a unique position, so a lot of times they make it a point to be as independent as possible,” said Wright-Jarrett.
If you are interested in volunteering or want to learn more about the various shifts, click here.