We appreciate the letters and emails we’ve received concerning the Zero Waste program. The contribution and perspective of members and the community are vital to the ongoing health of the Market.
The Board has no intentions of ending this program, or of letting it fail. Unfortunately, it is neither sustainable nor effective as it currently exists. The current program was successful with grant funds and a large pool of volunteers. Both of those resources have disappeared, which has impacted the effectiveness of the program. While there are some volunteers (thank you!), the bulk of the effort has shifted to paid staff and compensated volunteers.
In order to operate the program in 2012 the Board authorized expenditures of several thousand dollars for staff, signage and related expenses to continue the program. These funds were not in the 2012 budget. The contribution we received from MAPS offsets only a portion of our costs. After a number of discussions at the board meetings, including meetings with stakeholders, we feel that the best course of action is to finish the 2012 season using Market funds, and develop a new approach to start in 2013. This may include new signage, new funding partners, new rules for vendors, and possibly new vendor fees.
The SSM Board and membership discussed several options at the Annual Membership Meeting. There were many useful suggestions and several members indicated a willingness to be part of a committee this fall exploring our options. Our intention is to engage Marion County as well as Allied Waste with our committee to look for solutions to the issues regarding zero waste. There are also the Wednesday Market and the possible Keizer Market to consider. Expanding the program to include all vendors, not just food vendors, is also a point for further discussion.
We welcome those who would like to serve on the committee to evaluate and reorganize the
Zero Waste Program to contact any SSM board member so that this committee can begin to meet this fall and plan for the program next season. We need your help to effectively run programs that the Market membership and the public support.
The Salem Saturday Market Board of Directors