Only one person applies for Farmers’ Market jobs

Published 11:58 am Tuesday, July 3, 2012

With about four weeks remaining in its season, the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market could end its summer run on July 28 without a dedicated manager and assistant manager.

“We’re hoping we’ll have someone in place by the end of the summer, in time for our fall market, which is planned to start Oct. 6,” said Kristen Meehan, one of the market’s coordinators. “That will give us time to train the managers.”

Both the manager and assistant manager hired by the city in March resigned in May, and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen re-advertised the positions in June.

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Monday, the board accepted one application for each position — from the same person. But there is no guarantee the applicant will be hired, city officials said.

Whether the city fills one of the positions or re-advertises the jobs, city grants coordinator Marcia Weaver said, depends on a decision from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which approved the $47,823 Farmers’ Market Promotion Grant that funds the positions. The grant expires Sept. 30, 2013, which means the manager and assistant manager will be employed for about 18 months.

The lack of a manager has not affected the Farmers’ Market, Vicksburg Main Street executive director Kim Hopkins said, adding that Main Street officials have been handling the managers’ chores.

“The market is doing well,” she said. “We’ve been averaging about 600 people on Saturdays. People are coming and they’re enjoying it.”

Candace Palmertree, who was hired as marketing manager, resigned May 17, saying the market was not a good fit for her. Dwan J. Henderson, the assistant manager, resigned on May 9, citing problems with lifting heavy items.

Under the USDA grant, both jobs are contract positions that involve more than running the market during the season.

The manager is paid $336 a month plus $100 per market day during the grant period and is expected to recruit farmers and vendors for the market. The assistant manager receives $288 a month and $70 per market day worked. The assistant manager updates the market’s website and helps with advertising and promotion.

The Vicksburg Farmers’ Market, at Washington and Jackson streets, is open from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays, and from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.