Bridge to Connect students who help translate for customers and vendors
Another successful market season
By Renée Lubomirski Nov. 11, 2023
On Saturday Oct. 28, the Winchester Farmers Market held the annual pizza party and Halloween themed market. Shoppers arrived at the market dressed in costumes, ranging from the iconic Wednesday Addams to an adorable Wii character Yoshi to a lovely princess Cinderella. Stopping by each booth, little ones could be seen eagerly collecting candies and trading amongst each other. Above all, the warm fall day signified the conclusion of the 2023 season and the start of preparation for the 2024 market!
With the season starting in early June and lasting till late October, the market took place over the duration of 22 Saturdays. Each week, beaming, returning customers came back to the market to purchase their weekly greens, while new customers strolled through the commons. Vendors came out each Saturday, setting out their goods, and preparing for the 9:30 opening bell, signifying the start of the market. Music played in the background which matched with the lively market energy.
Over the season, the market has truly grown. Since the 2022 market season, many vendors have sensed some confusion within the market—many shoppers were non-English speakers making communication with vendors a difficult challenge. Many of these customers were elderly Chinese speakers. To combat the challenge, high school students, Adam, Ethan, and Renee Lubomirski, and Matthew Chen worked together to form a volunteer group called a Bridge to Connect, or BriCo. Under BriCo, the mission is to connect people with diversified backgrounds together and to build a better community around us. Besides translating, students also distributed matching funds to aid people in food insecurity, and showed up to the market weekly to help translate and facilitate transactions between vendors and shoppers. Market Manager Fred Yen commented saying, “These students have gone above and beyond and have contributed enormously to the smooth running of the Market. They have stepped up to meet the challenge of dealing with huge crowds and have made a positive impact.” All in all, this experience is mutually beneficial—students enhance their Chinese skills, while the market is able to run smoothly.
The high school’s Farmers Market Club has also been working closely with the market. At the Halloween market, the club held a booth, selling farmers market themed merchandise. At the end of the day, the team had raised over $200, all of which would be donated to Anna’s Fund, which helps food-insecure residents increase their purchasing power. Farmer’s Market Club Officer Adam Lubomirski described it as “a rewarding experience of creating personal bonds and opening my eyes to people in our community that still struggle with food insecurity. It’s a great opportunity to connect what I learn in the classroom to what happens in the real world.”
During the club fair at the beginning of the school year, the club experienced success with over 50 new members signing up for the club. With this, the club anticipates an extremely successful year. In the off season, the market team plans on continuing to raise money for the market through bake sales and other fundraising methods.
The grand finale will be on November 18th at the Jenks Center. Stop by and let’s have some fun!
Renée Lubomirski is a Winchester High School junior.
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