Vendors work to raise money to keep Durham Farmers’ Market afloat

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Farmers’ Market sits in the heart of downtown Durham.

“It’s just an outlet for the region’s local farmers and vendors to reach the public with their products,” said Grant Ruhlman.

Ruhlman is the founder and fermenter of Homebucha Kombucha in Durham. He’s also a vendor at the market.

“It’s an experience. It’s an event, but it is also a place you can do your grocery shopping,” he said.

For the past month or so, Ruhlman and others have been working to open up hearts and wallets to help save the market.

“So, I was really surprised when I learned the farmers’ market was in trouble financially from the COVID shutdown. Because when we opened back and up and on a traditional Saturday we have a lot of customers that are coming through,” Ruhlman said.

Ruhlman said the market was forced to shut down for several weeks last year due to COVID-19. While the market made a comeback last May, many of the farmers and vendors were unable or were uncomfortable returning.

“Whether 4,000 people come or 100 people come, the income of the market as an organization is based on the stall fees,” Ruhlman said.

A lack of stall fees means the market is having a tough time meeting its budget. So, Ruhlman and others on the Durham Farmers’ Market fundraising committee have started raising money.

The goal is to raise $20,000.

“The Durham Farmers’ Market breaks even about every year. Due to that shutdown and COVID-related losses, it was clear we needed to generate some other income,” said Ruhlman.

“You’re supporting our area’s local farmers. So, as far as food resiliency and food security, we really want to support the local farm economy here,” he added.

The farmers’ market is in the Pavilion at Durham Central Park. Click here, if you are interested in helping the campaign.

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