Field of two for Farmers Market contract


The city of Sonoma has received two proposals to take over management of the Tuesday Night Farmers Market in May of 2011.

The Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market, chaired by Bill Dardon, is basically a reformation of the incumbent group. It does not include longtime market manager Hilda Swartz.

The second proposal was submitted by Irene Morgan under the name Sonoma Certified Farmers’ Market. Morgan owns a small farm and has participated in farmers markets for seven years, she said. She serves as secretary on the board of directors for Sonoma Sister Cities International, and has had a volunteer production role in numerous fundraising events.

“I believe a diverse group of farmers creates a more interesting, sustainable market,” Morgan said. “I will include vendors with different backgrounds and farming experiences, which helps to create the product diversity needed to attract and maintain a base of customers.”

Both groups would work as non-profit organizations. Morgan proposes a team of four, to include herself, Rene Schuman Armstrong, Ric Olvera and an additional staffer not yet recruited.

The VMCFM would be directed by a board headed by Dardon and including vendors and community members.

Dardon said the group demonstrates “a solid foundation of past market success, the policy of openness, transparency and accountability to the city, and fairness in the selection process for vendors.”

There would be an emphasis on local farmers, food processors and artisans, he said, and straightforward and open criteria for vendor selection.

The VMCFM intends to hire a manager from Sonoma who has experience in nonprofit organizations, event planning and budgeting.

Morgan’s proposal also stipulates a policy of honesty and integrity, and includes a Code of Ethics to help guide the operation.

“The market is in the position to rally the people around its vision of fresh local food and a balanced farming environment,” she said.


One Response to Field of two for Farmers Market contract

  1. Susan Green says:

    I’d like to address this post to Mr. Dardon and the Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market (VMCFM).

    My Company, The Sonoma Valley Apron Company, was thwarted by poor market management by being denied access through negligent and irresponsible if not down-right mean market manager Hilda Swartz and the negligence of the City Council at the time., so to now read (in this wonderful local free paper) that finally a responsible entity will be in charge, warms the cockles of my heart.

    Curiously, the article also reads that the VMCFM is seeking a manager with all the skills and experience I possess.

    Maybe I’ll be able to participate in the market afterall.

    Susan Green