By Board Member and Volunteer Cathi Watkins

Volunteering to write this blog post gave me a chance to discover more about ALFN’s Saturday morning market volunteers (set-up 8 to 10:30 am or pick-up 10 am to 12 pm).

Here’s what I learned from the men and women volunteering this past Saturday:

  • One volunteer has been with us from the start (nearly a decade of volunteering); others were first-time volunteers.
  • Several volunteers come nearly every Saturday, others are more occasional volunteers.
  • Most volunteers were members before volunteering, but one just like volunteering so she just started helping out!
  • Volunteers ranged in age from 20-something to 60-something.
  • All of the volunteers love ALFN’s fresh, healthy food offerings and all enjoy the comradery of fellow volunteers, staff and shoppers.

Personally, I volunteer because online ordering helps me plan weekly meals, and I want ALFN to thrive in spite of increasing market pressure.

Talking with volunteers made me aware of others’ motivations such as:

  • Volunteers get to see ALFN’s products in person, know what looks good, are in-touch with seasonal produce, and are prepared for next-week’s order.
  • Showing up on Saturday mornings gives structure to the day, setting a good pace for the whole weekend.
  • Volunteers can select an incentive that covers their membership fees, or allows them to purchase something special. Volunteering is a way of contributing to the household (literally, “bringing home the bacon”).
  • Volunteers appreciate helping sustain local farm businesses. They strongly value ALFN’s farm and food suppliers and the web of local small business.
  • Volunteers gain insight into how the market works and like having a part in making it run smoothly.
  • Volunteers treasure meeting farmers who drop off foods early on Saturday.
  • Volunteers create happy community while working together. Volunteering is fun!


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