The Schenectady Greenmarket has been primarily run by volunteers for the past five years, but now that has changed.
The market recently announced it has hired its first full-time market manager, Jennifer Jennings.
“We were looking for someone who could help lead the market and help grow the customer base,” said Betsy Henry, chairwoman of the Schenectady Greenmarket Board. “She comes highly recommended.”
Jennings officially began her duties as market manager two weeks ago. In her new position, she is responsible for coordinating the everyday operations of the market, working with vendors, promoting the market and continuing its growth. According to Henry, Jennings’ extensive resume made her a perfect candidate for the job.
“She has lots of very positive energy,” Henry said. “She is a real supporter of farmers markets.”
Jennings’ family has owned a farm in the town of Florida in Montgomery County for more than 10 years. She is originally from Shelton, Conn., and moved to the Capital Region in 2002. Jennings received a master’s degree in urbanization and development and a bachelor’s degree in history. She also has a background in international food security and has worked for Save the Children Federation for many years.
Jennings recently worked for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Agricultural Stewardship Association and Land Trust Accreditation Commission. She is active with the American Farm Bureau Federation and New York Farm Bureau.
“She knows the farming community very well,” Henry said. “She has specific experience in farming. We are just really excited to have her on board.”
Jennings said she has a passion for agriculture and is excited to bring that passion to the Greenmarket.
“Farmers every day work so hard. They do it not only for themselves, but they know everything they raise is going to end up on someone’s table,” she said. “The market brings farmers and consumers together.”
Every Sunday from May to October the streets by City Hall are lined with vendors, live music and shoppers as people enjoy all the Schenectady Greenmarket has to offer.
“It is a way to bring local produce and local goods right into the heart of the city,” Henry said.
The market opened in November 2008 and continues to grow. More than 70 vendors currently participate in the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors produce everything they sell.
On an average Sunday, between 3,000 and 4,000 people frequent the market, according to Henry.
In October, the market moves indoors. It remains inside Proctors each Sunday until the end of April before moving back outdoors. Henry said the market is not only enjoyable but has helped local farmers and the Schenectady economy.
“I think we have also made a huge impact on downtown Schenectady,” she said. “It is not just city residents — they are really coming from all over the county.”
Henry said the market hopes to continue to connect farms and the city. She describes the market as a “destination market” because people not only come for the fresh and local produce, but also for the sense of community.
“We are going to continue to be a key institution in Schenectady County,” she said.