One Year as the Executive Director of Forsyth Farmers' Market
By Jeb Bush
As I approach my one year mark as the executive director of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market, I keep coming back to that word to describe my feelings toward this past year. As soon as I started in this position, I realized just how big the team was behind the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. As a vendor, I saw the staff on Saturdays that did so much to make sure markets went off without a hitch. Moving into a role on that staff, I learned there was also a whole team in the background supporting this organization. There is a community around the Forsyth Farmers’ Market who cheer us on every week. This community is filled with volunteer leadership through our board, volunteers who help on a weekly basis, donors who ensure we are able to operate successfully each week, and of course the shoppers who no matter the weather, come out in full force to support our organization and the farmers. I try to make it my mission to thank each of you weekly. Whatever your role is on this team, I want you to know how much you are appreciated.
Of course, I need to spend some time talking about the heroes of this operation. I can tell you from my own experience that our farmers are some of the hardest working people in this area. And every day they go to work on a hope and a prayer that they will be successful in not only growing produce but have the ability to sell it as well. Even as hot as it’s been this summer and as wet as it was this spring, these farmers don’t ever seem to give up hope. To these amazing men and women, thank you so much. You feed us, you teach us and you inspire us.
I’m also thankful for the community that has rallied around the Farm Truck 912 program. This past year has seen tremendous growth in the farm truck program. We expanded to eight stops. While only adding one stop, we have doubled the number of customers. The reach of the truck grows weekly due to community support. A big supporter of all of this growth is our local non-profit community. While each organization has its own work, we are all working for a common cause. There are countless e-mails between organizations making sure that no clients are slipping through the cracks and that the organization who can best serve someone in need is being contacted. These folks cheer for a group success, not just their own. I’m impressed daily with the work of all of our partner organizations. This group is also filled with career nonprofit professionals who are happy to share their expertise from years of service. Thank you all.
I do want to take a moment to thank our Board of Directors and all of our committee volunteers. When people use the term “working board” they are clearly talking about our board. Our board and committee members work hard to make sure we have the funds necessary to operate, our programs are functioning at their greatest potential, and the community is aware of the work the organization does. These folks are all amazing. Thank you for your trust in me, your belief in our mission, and your leadership.
Finally, I want to thank the staff of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. Every day I am surrounded by a group of individuals who truly believe in our mission of helping farmers and improving food access. Each person brings their own, unique, set of experiences when it comes to food and farm issues but they all share a passion for seeing the local food movement grow. The market staff works so hard in all they do, whether that’s making a welcoming environment, offering a farmer support, or explaining how our SNAP doubling program operates. I’m inspired by each one of them and so appreciate them all.
As I start my second year, I can’t help but be excited about where we are going. So many people want to help make our farmers successful. There is a ton of work being done to make produce accessible to everyone in Savannah. I am proud that we are helping to lead the way to make this the most delicious, nutritious, scrumptious city who supports one another and our broader community. And more than anything else, I am grateful to all of you for being a part of this journey.