Welcoming a New Market Manager!

Lia Rousset welcomes our new market manager Nikki Nagrone

As Florence Farmers Market grows, the framework within which it operates is evolving. This year, Florence Farmers Market board made the decision to shift the Market Manager position from independent contractor to market employee. The position was opened to the community for application, and as a result we are excited to welcome our new market manager, Nikki Nagrone!

Our dear Lia Rousset has been a strong and nurturing manager to our market since it’s beginning days and is ready to pass along this responsibility.

Please enjoy these beautiful and encouraging words from Lia:

Dear Beloved Community of Fellow Producers and Eaters, I am writing to formally announce my decision to step down as Manager of the Florence Farmers Market. Even as I will deeply miss working with you all in this role, I am excited to see how the market will continue to evolve under new leadership.  

I remember the first farmers market planning meeting I attended in preparation for the inaugural season in 2018. We were in the Siuslaw Public Library boardroom, all the captain chairs filled by dedicated folx visioning and working diligently toward a sustainable local food system in Florence. While I had been involved in local food systems and farming in bigger cities across the country, I was new to Florence and duly impressed by what was happening at the community level. The degree of commitment, communication, and cooperation happening here was a rare thing to witness and would become deeply meaningful to feel a part of.

To give you a sense:
That group of community members and producers have grown through the years; and, since our humble beginnings and literally 1000s upon 1000s of hours of volunteers stewarding the vision, we are now a vibrant, community-led hub for local food.

Last year we were seeing crowd counts over 800 people at the height of the season. These numbers are largely afforded by our new location at the Port of Siuslaw, which has also allowed our vendor participation to more than double. It is incredibly satisfying to know that folx, locals and visitors alike, were heading home with food produced by people who care about the health of their customers, animals, land and water. And that those customers were voting for the same with their purchases from their neighbor producers.

The visibility and success of our market has led to increased DoubleUp support, the heart of our vision. For the past three years now, we have been matching up to $20 on SNAP/EBT monies, supporting hundreds of customers hungry for fresh produce. Florence has been highlighted by the Farmers Market Fund as one of the most successful small markets in Oregon to implement the program. Just last year we had $12,000 SNAP/DoubleUP redeemed! And now after years of success running this program, we were entrusted by PeaceHealth to administer the Rx program where patients are given extra support to access fresh produce.

The amazing list of associated engagement goes on! Music, The Community Table, Local Matters, Fill Your Pantry, the Winter Market, and new this year, Power Of Produce. Written here, these may seem just names on a page, but check them out and you’ll find wonderful people delivering rich opportunities to engage with the incredible resources our community has to offer!

And now the market is poised to grow even more! As a part of this next phase, the Farmers Market board and I are excited to welcome Nikki Nagrone to the team as the Market Manager, continuing his enthusiastic service to the community in this new role. What will we build together next?

While my own role within the market is changing, I am not going anywhere far! I will be enjoying the fruits of all of our labors, and looking for ways I and my family can contribute to the community and a local food system that we are blessed to be a part of. Deepest gratitude and a bow to all of you producers, eaters, and volunteers who have made this market all that it is!

Finally, I have found heart-swelling goodness in the late John O’Donohue’s blessings, and when I came across this one, it felt right for the Farmers Market, in this emerging moment:Please enjoy these beautiful and encouraging words from Lia:Dear Beloved Community of Fellow Producers and Eaters,I am writing to formally announce my decision to step down as Manager of the Florence Farmers Market. Even as I will deeply miss working with you all in this role, I am excited to see how the market will continue to evolve under new leadership.  

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

-John O’Donohue

Please join us in welcoming Nikki.

Nikki and his family have been market goers for a number of years, and are invested in the well being of our community. Nikki is currently a board member and volunteer coordinator at Siuslaw Family Connection, and his wife Amber will be leading the committee in charge of Florence Farmers Market’s new Power of Produce program, which is made possible at FFM through a partnership between Florence Farmers Market and Siuslaw Family Connection. Power Of Produce is an exciting initiative to get kids directly involved with fresh food and the people who produce it.

Nikki describes himself as passion driven, and if you spend a little time with him, this shows. He is warm, friendly, and energetic, with a smile that just makes you want to smile too! He has a love of community, quality food and an encouraging outlook that embraces the qualities Florence Farmers Market fosters. Nikki has had an interest in plants since a very young age and shared a fun memory, readily recalling the little fava bean sprouting project from the second grade (anyone else remember projects like that, that stayed with you for life?) and he has carried his love of plants into adulthood. Nikki has worked professionally in the culinary field and has a passion for good quality food, human connection, healthy families and a supportive community. We are lucky to work with him!

Nikki says, “It’s an honor to be joining the market team. There are so many nice people from the community who come together to make it all happen.”

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