“I started going to the Carrboro market because I felt like I needed some community,” Clark said. “I was drawn to the market, not just for food, but for people.”
The market’s Perennial Program, which started this fall, allows shoppers to contribute to the market through annual, monthly or one-time donations.
Erin Jobe, market manager, said this is the market’s first year of fundraising.
“The market is almost completely funded by farmers and artisans,” Jobe said. “We are really used to working with really limited resources, but the market is so important to our community, so we thought our market members and our community would like to help out.”
As of Monday, Jobe said 60 people have become market Perennials and donated to the program. The market’s goal was to add 50 Perennials.
“The 2015 budget will increase by 10 to 15 percent,” Jobe said. “We are looking at having around $6,000 to put into the budget next year, which is great because it will help us to get these new programs off the ground.”
Clark said the Perennial Program gives the market much-needed funding to accelerate its growth and do good for the community.
“Give me another avenue to support the market and I want to be involved,” she said. “I want to do it.”
Money raised through the program will be given to three specific programs: empowering and educating local youth about produce, increasing access to local food and continuing to foster a relationship between farmers and shoppers.
Margaret Krome-Lukens, market assistant manager, said educating children will make them value the market more.
“We can teach them why fresh vegetables are both delicious and good for them, and then that child feels empowered to prepare a fresh vegetable,” she said.
Krome-Lukens said the funding will help the market lift barriers to local food access, including financial, cultural or transportation barriers.
“These funds will allow us to do more in that area, reaching out to parts of that community who are not comfortable to come out to the market right now,” she said.
Clark said the market vendors are more than just the people who grow her food.
“I have made dear, dear friends there over the years and now my ‘farmers’ are my friends,” Clark said.
Though the market has raised money for specific projects in the past, Krome-Lukens said this program is different because it will expand what the market can do in the future.
Clark said people who shop at the market frequently should donate to the program.
“I don’t think it is necessarily going to draw new people in but those who visit regularly,” she said. “You do it because you want good food and you want to talk to your good friends. I want the market to be there forever.”