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ALG Market is NOT Opening This Week
I wish I had better news to report, but I’m afraid Athens Locally Grown is going to be taking at least one week off. The Athens YMCA has reclaimed their space, and I’m still on the hunt for a new temporary home for us. We’ve grown so much over the last two months, about eight times larger than before all this craziness, and there’s just no way we can safely fit inside Ben’s Bikes right now.
I do still have several leads I’m following up on, but we’ve been turned away from all the obviously perfect spaces. We’ve been offered other spaces that have turned out to be too small or otherwise impractical for how we have to operate right now. I’m looking into some vacant retail spaces, event spaces, and churches still, and I’m hopeful something will turn up this week so we can return next week.
Many of you have offered leads, some of which I’m still chasing, and I thank all of you for that. You’ve had some awesome out of the box ideas I’m grateful for.
Maybe you have contacts with a vacant space that could host us for a while? Here’s what we’re looking for:
- a room large enough to hold our 65 plastic shelving units and about a dozen giant coolers, with space to move around and allow our growers to drop things off with minimal contact. The room at the Y was about 40×60, perhaps a bit smaller. We’d need to keep things there for the duration, since broken down and packed tightly they completely fill a 20 foot box truck. This has been the biggest hurdle so far.
- easy access for our customers, ideally one where they would not have to leave their car
- ideally a path between the room and the cars that is protected from the elements, so we can operate in the rain
- Ideally centrally located in Athens
- Our current schedule has us there every Thursday. Volunteers arrive at 3pm to set up, growers show up at 3:30 to drop off, and customers arrive between 5 and 8 to pick up.
The school system is not allowing outside groups in right now. Many churches are the same. Event spaces are empty right now, but most are champing at the bit to open back up again and are hesitant to commit to hosting us. I’ve always operated the market to break even (at best), so without major restructuring, we can’t pay rent. We can offer a bit of a food credit (same as we give the volunteers) for someone who can host us.
In the meantime, please support our growers at the other markets that are now back up and running, or at their own locations. The Comerian takes online orders for Saturday pickup at the bakery here: https://www.thecomerian.com/online-ordering. Dawson Farms has been contacting their regular milk customers to offer alternative pickups. The Athens Farmers Market is holding their Saturday market once again in Bishop Park. It’s not anything like it was before, so you’ll want to read up on all the changes on their website, http://athensfarmersmarket.net. The West Broad Farmers Market is back too, holding a drive through market just like us (and using my software too, so it’ll be nice and familiar). You can join them at https://wbfm.locallygrown.net. And of course Collective Harvest is going strong over at https://www.collectiveharvestathens.com.
I promise we’ll be back as soon as we possibly can. My garage is stuffed to the literal rafters with shelves and coolers, and I’d much rather they be somewhere where they can hold food for all of you.