Our Barefoot Books Ambassadors are endlessly creative when it comes to ways to get the world out about the books they love. From hosting story time to organizing cooking classes inspired by their favorite books, the imagination of our amazing Ambassadors seems to be the only limitation on ways to Live Barefoot. We’ve chatted with some of our Ambassadors who feel that Barefoot is right at home at farmers’ markets.
How did you start sharing Barefoot at farmers’ markets?
Karen Taylor: ‘Most markets do not usually allow direct sales companies, but Barefoot Books is an exception to the rule. Our books promote literacy and art. The markets I participate in do not just sell farm produce; they are places where the community can come together to buy local, walk their dogs, and enjoy great food and music. Vendors range from farmers selling produce, grass-fed meats, and herbs and vegetables, to artists selling handcrafted jewelry and soaps, to fast-food trucks. However there usually isn’t much on offer at a farmers’ market for kids, so when I approach one for the first time, I point out that Barefoot Books is family-friendly, and what better way to cater to their youngest market patrons then to showcase us?’
How do you think the Barefoot Books brand fits into the culture of farmers’ markets?
Heather L Barton Ziegler: ‘We share the values of being environmentally conscious and community based. We care about children, health, the planet and the world, and so do those who coordinate farmers’ markets, visit farmers’ markets, and sell their goods there’
Dawnella Suton: ‘What really makes Barefoot Books such a wonderful addition to farmers’ markets is the feeling behind what it is like to live Barefoot: being outdoors in the fresh air, sharing time with children and families, and discovering the world around us. I’m always proud to be able to point out the forest-friendly paper Barefoot Books publishes upon’
Do your children come with while you are at the Farmers’ Markets? What sort of things do they do there?
Heather L Barton Ziegler: ‘My daughter comes, along with my husband. My daughter has learned to understand that this is where I work. She can visit me, play at the market, the playground, the organized “Kids Center”, understand what being a part of a community is all about and discover real, healthy food too!’
Dawnella Sutton: ‘My son has been with me at my farmers’ markets since he was born! As he has grown, so has his involvement, from playing quietly to listening to stories then reading the books, and now engaging other children in activities’
What are some of the different ways you display your books at a Farmers’ Market, as opposed to at a home party or other event?
Karen Taylor: ‘I treat my booth as a mobile bookstore. I have a large variety of stock facing out, more so than for home parties, so it’s easier for my customers to browse’
Heather L Barton Ziegler: ‘I bring a lot! I offer on-site sales, unlike home parties, and have my own tent’
Dawnella Sutton: ‘I use baskets, wooden crates, wheelbarrows, and plant pots’
How does selling at a farmers’ market fit with your overall parenting strategy and family culture?
Karen Taylor: ‘I love the farmers’ markets and can honestly say that it has affected my parenting and family culture in a positive way. I am much more aware of why buying local is so important. We have visited some of our local farmers. We buy fresh cow’s milk and raw local honey. My kids are well educated on why we don’t eat foods with artificial dyes, preservatives, pesticides and hormones’
Heather L Barton Ziegler: ‘We are a green and organic family. I’m all about my community and being a part of the farmers’ market integrates me more than ever before, in new ways’
‘Do you have any interesting tips for Farmers’ Market newbies (both buyers and sellers)?’
Karen Taylor: ‘Tips for buyers: Always ask vendors if they will accept credit/debit cards. Most craft vendors will accept them but most food vendors will not. You will want to save your cash for the food vendors.
Tips for Ambassadors: Make sure you invest in a good tent. It needs to be sturdy enough to withstand winds and easy to put up by yourself. Make sure you have weights for each leg of your tent! I use my tent sidewalls to throw over the books in case of rain. Here in Florida, the rain will come quick and heavy so instead of having the walls attached or trying to attach them when it rains, I just throw the walls over the books and tables to keep the rain off the books.
Give other market vendors a vendor discount. Cross market! Let your customers know of other great vendors at the market and have other vendors reciprocate’
Heather L Barton Ziegler: ‘Have your introductory, two minute commercial ready to explain the Barefoot Books story. I also have a sign-up sheet to collect everyone’s info and their interest levels. I offer a raffle to be drawn from all the people who fill out my sign-up form’
Dawnella Sutton: ‘Always expect to find something new if you are buying, and to offer something new when you are selling. As an Ambassador, ask the farm stand vendors if you can showcase some of their goods alongside your books and vice versa so that you support each other’
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