Dear People of Boca Grande,
The Boca Grande Farmers Market appeals to you for help and assistance in finding and identifying new market location alternatives.
When we began our plans in the Summer of 2014 to establish the market, the greater part of our laborious energies went to trying to quickly identify a suitable and stable location.
Land availability, visibility, restrooms, and parking were and are primary considerations. We worked with several early supporters to secure potential and logical matches. Because the bulk of planning occurred during off-season, making necessary and timely connections was a challenge.
The market was blessed to have secured the Ball Field at 305 Wheeler Road (left at the range light). The Lee County staff was and continues to be amazing to work with. Our collective efforts brought entirely new life to a previously little-used lot. We also created a brand new “go to” spot and event. For the forseeable immediate future, the Ball Field will continue to provide plenty of land for vendors, some who travel up to three hours to participate. This year, we also have planned expanded organic produce in answer to your requests.
We know that many of you hold vast life and savvy business experiences. You likely have encountered the competing surprise pressures of those who would seek to destroy something carefully built for a greater cause. Adversity not only operates in the dark, it also loves to use any and all available calculating and manipulative means. It’s ok. We know that in this life ye shall have tribulation, although weeping endures for a night, joy comes in the morning. We can and will thrive.
The 2015/2016 market faces two developing pressures necessitating this appeal for alternative locations. The first is that a newly formed off-island market plans to open in a location that is a direct access route to Boca Grande. This poses the potential adverse effect for our planned expansion and advertising off – island as well as creates an impact to the economic growth island businesses glean from increased market attendance.
The second challenge is more serious. Pending changes, resulting from current flea market/farmers market food vs. craft controversies, in how Lee County plans to allocate and award future community development permitting means that the market’s location stability may be at risk.
We are committed to growing island sustainability and to address food desert needs. Competing interests in our own back yard, that we can deal with. But instability to the market’s health from outside disinterested parties, there’s where we must draw the line.
There are three things in life that I hold to be crucial to true success: to know where one has been, to know where one is, and to hope to know where one is going. To know where one is going means the reasonable security of an abundant and stable future. Those that seek to create chaos and upset, I believe, are wrongfully and negatively minded. Furthermore, they are motivated out of self-serving immature interests and do not put the whole greater good at the helm. To put it simply, I do not operate destructively like that personally or professionally.
So we ask for help. We appeal to the residents and business owners of Boca Grande to step forward NOW if you can visualize and facilitate the market in your island location. We are looking further at what’s available, what’s possible, what’s aligned and what could work for our community agritourism event.
An ideal match would be a privately owned lot or other land area, relatively close to town center.. it does not need to be large. Boca Grande Farmers Market operates seasonally Oct – April on Fridays from 9:30a – 1 30p, with an hour on each end for vendor setup, we presently see about 1,000 people each market week.
We are so thankful to our family of trusted vendors, for the reception we’ve received, for YOUR participation and great ideas, and for the opportunity to share our hearts. We hope you will see the opportunities and come up along side us to extend your hand. Ours is always waiting.
Shauna Lee Lange, Founder