What It’s Like to Volunteer at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in 2023
For the past month, Abbey Strum has volunteered in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) at the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. From 5:15 a.m. until 7 a.m., she’s watched vendors prepare for the day, setting up prior to Market attendees supporting local business owners and entertainers doing what they do best— entertaining! Then, she's returned to help with tear down from Noon until 1:45 p.m. Below, learn how Abbey became a Downtown Farmers’ Market volunteer and how the experience has bolstered her love of Downtown DSM and its summer offerings.
What interested you in becoming a Downtown Farmers’ Market volunteer?
Abbey Strum: This year, after volunteering with the DSM Book Festival, I was asked if I’d like to help out with The Market. Living just a block away, I had no excuse not to jump in and help out. After my first event, I realized how much fun it was and have kept volunteering.
Was The Market what you expected?
AS: It is similar to the experience of volunteering at the DSM Book Festival; at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, I help move things and put them into place in preparation for The Market. Builds muscle mass without all the risks of CrossFit and monotony of pushups, ya know?
What does your day at The Market look like?
AS: I help with setup and teardown. Because I live so close to the event, I roll out of bed about ten minutes before, wait for the truck to show up and help with tent setup. I started to come back for teardown, which also breaks up my day.
What I love about helping setup is being able to see all The Market booths ahead of all the people showing up. I can do a little early shopping — I love The Shrimple Life booth!
Why would you tell others to become a Market volunteer?
AS: First dibs on purchases is one reason, but mainly it’s to work with other awesome volunteers/Market staff. People are professional and kind. The Market is so organized, so it goes quickly. It’s also an opportunity where you can wake up early and get it out of the way, so you can volunteer and still have most of your day left to do other things.
What would you say to dispel someone’s nerves about volunteering?
AS: When you volunteer at The Market, you move smaller items so it’s not difficult. There is also always something to do. The people in charge know exactly what needs to be done, and they’ll tell you where they need you, so you’re always getting something done.
What’s the best thing about volunteering?
AS: The opportunity to support local small businesses! For vendors who show up, it’s important that The Market continues to grow and support them, and volunteers are a big part of that.
To become a Downtown Farmers' Market volunteer, visit volunteerlocal.com.
From May to October, experience local artists, live music and entertainment at the Downtown Farmers’ Market featuring more than 300 family farmers, bakers, artists and crafters from around the state. It’s easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options. Find the latest updates for The Market each week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.