The most useful part of the Ontario Market Manager Certification (OMMC) program is the sense of confidence it provides, says Kelly, who is currently in her second year of managing the Kemptville Farmers’ Market.
The 12-year-old market, which has about 38 regular vendors, is located in Kemptville, Ontario, a community of about 3,900 people.
“This program can only step up your game as a professional market manager.”
“I can refer to the resources from the webinars when I present to the board, which adds value when there’s an issue to assess or a problem to solve,” Kelly says.
The resources, skills and “words of wisdom” gained from the webinars are key when educating the volunteers and board members on certain issues, especially when making tough decisions for the good of the organization and its stakeholders, Kelly explains. Overall, it makes the job as a market manager much more rewarding, she says.
Kelly is most excited to spice up Kemptville Market’s policies, procedures and marketing efforts to lead it to more success, and to developing more programming for the community using her new-found skills.
“Every market manager should get certified because understanding the issues specific to farmers’ markets adds value to management services,” Kelly says. “A certified market manager shows that the market is growing into a professionally run organization that will attract vendors and customers, and it will hopefully assist with funding and other partnerships.”
Instructor Michelle Wolf’s real-life experience as both a vendor and market manager is priceless, adds Kelly, who is not a vendor.
One of her favourite parts of managing the market is supporting vendors and helping them solve issues from a neutral position.
“Support each other, continue to build on your training and knowledge, and love what you do.”
The certification program gave Kelly new insight about the important role of markets within a community. “They benefit everyone because they are a space where small farmers can sell their produce and products without worrying about competing with larger corporations”, Kelly says. “I like being in a community where people work hard and take pride in their work.”
“Farming is so important and I have the utmost respect for those who do it. I love that I can help new farmers succeed and I love seeing those who have taken off into bigger, successful businesses.”
Kelly says completing the webinars was a cup of tea. “Relax, take notes, save the resources, no stress.”