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Welcome to the new chapter!

Hello and welcome to the first post of a new chapter for me!

If you’ve caught the hints posted lately, change has been brewing at Mockingjay Press. While I’ve been wildly successful in my nearly-10-years of striking it out on my own, the time had come for a new path to emerge. It’s no secret that farmers markets have become a huge part of my life and have redirected my passion for supporting small businesses in a different way than originally intended with social media management.

After these 8 years of creating, directing and saving farmers markets, I felt the compelling desire to use my voice to tell the stories of farmers markets. The “WHY” behind them, the work that goes into them, and the most engaging and supportive ways that anyone can be a part of them. Through my experience in Social Media management via Mockingjay Press, I’ve learned to tell the stories of small businesses by using their voice. With ever-changing and ever limiting online platforms, and our growing desire to connect in more human ways, it felt like time to use MY voice in helping the world better understand who and what farmers markets are.

Sometimes it feels as though communities are less connected than ever – yet we are yearning for a sense of place, a pride in our neighborhoods. We are all seeking to belong in our own unique way. We want to connect and share more. To feel accepted and to feel safe. Imagine that place can exist in in my community. Imagine that place can exist in your community. Imagine that place is a farmers market. The world is full of Farmers Markets – in fact The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown rapidly in recent years. From just under 2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,600 markets currently registered in the USDA Farmers Market Directory. These places have so many stories to tell. From the vendor perspective – who are these people that show up week to week to sell things and showcase their strengths? From the customer perspective – nearly everyone has been to a market and we want to know how and why they continue to support. From the Community’s perspective – what benefits does a market bring to a community, to its local businesses and to its administration? And lastly, from the market director’s perspective. Our job is weird, and I think that there are stories that will engage your senses and your sense of humor.

This change needed a face. A symbol of the greater community of farmers markets and someone to tell the stories of WHY they are important.

So, what does the new brand mean? What’s the significance of this new identity?

When my capacity changed to having 3 farmers markets under my belt, (and with my love of the Game of Thrones series) I’ve was dubbed “Mother of Markets” as they each hold their own personality, much like Daenerys Targaryen's dragons. Market Maven has been another nickname given to me by vendors, friends, colleagues and even customers over the years. Not sure that everyone would catch the nerd reference with Mother of Markets, Market Maven was the ultimate choice for the new name. It’s fun, it’s catchy, and it’s authentically me.

What is different about the company now?

While Mockingjay Press still exists, it’s become the first iteration of who I want to be when I grow up. The first volume of my story, if you will. This, Market Maven, is the next chapter. Market Maven (me) will be more focused on telling the story in a more personal way, through the Market Maven Podcast, versus relying on social media blips that only a small audience can see. I’m not planning to keep this a secret – everywhere has farmers markets and everyone can learn about the markets in their communities. My experiences and expertise can be applied to anyone and anywhere who cares about agriculture, farms, plants and supporting small businesses. My goal is to share about local food access for everyone and helping engage communities with their agricultural roots. My goal is to showcase the importance of small businesses and hand-made goods.

Market Maven stands for something much bigger than ME.

What can you expect with Market Maven and the Market Maven Podcast?

My supporters can expect a more Sarah-fied experience. I love to tell stories – and I love making people laugh. My hope is that with a podcast people can not only learn, but also hear the fun and passion that come with what I do, what many market directors do. I hope to entertain and educate by way of sharing my experiences, as well as others’ in the farmers market world.

Market Maven hopes to connect with the 3 key facets of farmers markets.

1 – People; connecting within our communities is key

2 – Vendors: They make up our events and they bring their passion to people.

3 – Education: Helping entrepreneurs find their place at this business incubator

It will include many things, from planting the seeds of carrots to growing the seeds of change in our legislature. Surviving a global pandemic and coming out stronger because of it. And it will include the fun. Who doesn’t like to be surprised by the story of a honey emergency or the day the barricades became sails and danced 30 feet down a public street?

I’m looking forward to hosting guests on popular topics like farming, creating, cooking and more. If you have ideas for a topic or someone you’d love to hear more about, please let me know!

Everyone can find something to learn with Market Maven.

Ever since humankind was composed entirely of hunters and gatherers, we have been congregating around campfires to keep warm, to be in good company and to while away the nighttime hours with storytelling.

Before we even learn to speak, we giggle gleefully at the cadence and colour of a good yarn told by our parents or grandparents. As each of us matures, we seek out more and more complex tales. That pursuit is part of what makes us human.

Stories provide shelter from the proverbial cold nights of human existence; they give each of us much needed catharsis. We have used many media to relate powerful, emotionally-charged stories over the millennia of human existence: cave paintings, tablets, parchment, novels, novellas, newspapers and, now, the Internet.

Join me as I tell my stories and encourage others to share theirs about the fabric that is your local farmers market.

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