Katie Baird has lived in Prescott for 35 years. She was a middle school teacher for twenty years, then started a company which provided business support services until she retired. Katie has been a regular customer at the market since it opened in downtown Prescott in 1997. PFM Executive Director Kathleen Yetman sat down with Katie to learn more about what the organization means to her and why she donates annually.
PFM: Tell me how you first got involved in with PFM.
Katie: When the Market first began here in town, I started shopping there. Over the years, when traveling, I’ve made it a point to visit Markets wherever I go, and I concluded early that we have something special with ours. As a regular customer, I got acquainted with some producers and directors and have even had the chance to assist some of the vendors in their booths in various capacities. As the programs and activities our Market provides have broadened I’ve found ways to be a part of the guest artist program or help with various activities (like the seed exchange, for example). I must emphasize that my “involvement” with the Market (other than being a customer) is very limited. However, that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.
PFM: What do you wish other people knew about PFM?
Katie: Just because [BLANK]mart has organic produce doesn’t mean it’s locally or ethically sourced. If more people can finally gain an understanding of the vital role played by local producers who battle so many odds to bring us quality food and other goods, maybe they would make the shift from big box shopping to the Market. Honestly, the shopping experience is delightful when you are buying from people you have come to know and respect personally. Not to mention the health benefits and positive environmental impact of making the choice to shop at the Market
PFM: Why are you supporting PFM as opposed/in addition to other local organizations?
Katie: I honestly believe that most people desire to provide charitable support financially or through volunteer service. I also think that one’s philanthropic focus, personal financial situation, and life priorities changes at different stages of your life. Personally, I have noticed that I’ve shifted my focus from those global organizations I once supported to mostly local programs (whether privately owned or not-for-profit). My criteria in choosing what I’ll support now includes those which (a) help to build a stronger community; (b) provide services benefiting people of all ages; and (c) are well-managed such that I can immediately see that my donation of time or money is put to good use. The Prescott Farmers Market fits my criteria perfectly.
PFM: If you could change one thing about PFM, what would it be?
Katie: I know this is a complex undertaking, but I share a deeply held wish for a permanent location that has adequate space for all the vendors’ and staff needs, as well as parking so that, as the customer base ages (like ME), accessibility won’t be a problem.