ITHACA, N.Y. ––The Ithaca Farmers Market is turning to the public for help after suffering economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April the Farmers Market opened to the public with a limited capacity and decreased hours, driving down revenue during what is usually a busy season for the market with graduations and summer weather bringing tourists to the area.

To combat some of the losses, the market has setup a donation page on their website where users can donate any amount directly through PayPal to benefit the organization. Their goal is to raise $20,000 in 2020.

“We make money from vendors’ membership fees and use it to run the market on a daily basis. This year, our normal revenue streams have been drastically impacted, but we still have basic operating expenses like staff, infrastructure, marketing, utilities and insurance,” said Executive Director Becca Rimmel. “We’re looking to our community to help make sure the market stays a strong community resource.”

The financial troubles of COVID-19 hit at an especially bad time for IFM. At the end of 2019 the organization was awarded $339,150 in grant money for infrastructure improvements as part of statewide Regional Economic Development Council funding. The grant is set up as a reimbursement grant –– meaning that IFM must spend money first, and get paid back later.

The IFM is calling their fundraiser the “Market Hero” program, and anyone who gives more than $30 receives a limited edition tote bag with a logo designed by market vendor Laurin Ramsey.

For those who want to support in a different way the market is now also selling branded merchandise online for the first time ever, including a cookbook with farmstead-inspired dishes and recipes for some of the hot food normally sold at the market pre-covid. Merchandise is available online through the IFM website.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com