Community markets topic of talk
In a session coordinated by Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Janet Lyons and then-senior Maria Wrabel ’12, alumna Gail Eggeman ’73 shared her diverse expertise in varied areas of her business and societal undertakings with a gathering of interested students, alumni, faculty and staff at her alma mater in April. Eggeman is founder and manager of the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market, located on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. The sustainable community market offers a rich multicultural experience of food, crafts and music.
In its ninth season, the Market, organized by a group of volunteers under Eggeman’s direction, reflects a strong spirit of community. Each year it is open between early October and the end of May. Each Saturday approximately 130 vendors offer farm fresh produce, tasty prepared foods and interesting and unique crafts. “Be sure to come hungry,” Eggeman said. To learn more about the Saturday Morning Market, visit http://www.saturdaymorningmarket.com.
Stetson student representatives of Oxfam and Hatter Harvest were among those in attendance for Eggeman’s talk. She shared her experiences and tips with the group, such as the importance of consistent location, hours, and vendors when starting a market. She also suggested semi-exclusive vendor arrangements and other simple tips like providing tables and chairs for guests that would encourage them to stay, eat and shop more. Live, family-friendly music from around the world is a cornerstone of the Market, she explained.
While resale of vegetables is prominent in local markets, Eggeman said she likes to provide a booth-rental discount to farmers who come to market with food they have grown. That provides support for local farmers and customers who appreciate eating locally-grown produce.
Eggeman graduated from Stetson in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She entered the University of South Florida’s College of Business Administration and earned a CPA. She worked as the Fiscal Administration Manager in the Department of Public Works for the City of St. Petersburg where she served as manager of Grants Administration. In addition to the Saturday Morning Market, Eggeman also works as the development and finance director of The Studio at 620, a visual and performing arts center. She also started a Slow Food chapter in St. Petersburg, and has attended the international event (Terra Madre) led by the Slow Food founder Carlos Petrini. As chapter leader of the Tampa Bay chapter, she has also served as director of the Florida Association of Community Farmers Markets.
Wrabel, who graduated in May in Honors Global Development Studies, plans to volunteer with the Hoa An Research Center, working with rural Vietnamese to increase their incomes and agricultural productivity.