Farmers and gardeners, bakers and makers, artists and youth—the Questa Farmers Market is for all of us! The market keeps dollars local, offers fresh food, supports entrepreneurs, brings you live local music, and is a wonderful place for visiting with one another. We are EBT/SNAP authorized, participate in the double-up-food-bucks program (for New Mexico farmers), and accept WIC and Senior Nutrition Program checks.
The market operates every Sunday from the end of May until early October, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and has been in operation since 2017. It is located on land owned by the Questa Economic Development Fund, adjacent to the Visitor Center. The Questa Farmers Market is organized around three core initiatives that support tradition, adaptation, and resilience:
- Creating a hub for regenerating the local food economy by supporting and connecting growers, craftspeople, and customers.
- Caring for an inviting physical space that hosts vendors and customers, thereby supporting local food and community connection.
- Offering a paid youth internship program; work-based learning, mentorship and skill development focused on the local farm-to-market economic system.
We have been developing a youth internship program since 2019. Youth interns bring their perspective, hopes, questions, and vision. And now we’re excited to announce that we received a 2-year Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (LANLF) Education Enrichment Grant Award to support us in the youth internship aspect of our mission.The internship program will employ teens (ages 14-18) in regenerating the agricultural community in northern Taos County in farm-to-market economics; during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, we’ll be able expand our participation in the farm-to-market economy through agricultural education opportunities such as farm apprenticeships and entrepreneurial opportunities, including an intern-led farmers market business.
Together we’re creating a marketplace to support small and even micro local businesses in order to help regenerate the agricultural community in northern Taos County and foster skills and opportunity for a new generation.
How do internships work?
Interns arrive on-site at 9:00 am and finish by 3:00 pm on market Sundays. Contracts are six weeks long and can be renewed several times during the season with the possibility of employment ahead of the season and following the final market in October. Internships include season-long activities that happen every week as well as a variety of projects and additional opportunities tailored to interns’ interests.
- Market day operations: support vendors helping with market setup and take-down.
- Site beautification and gardens: plant trees, shrubs, vegetable plants and flowers, tend, weed, and water the on-site market gardens.
- North Central Food Pantry (NCFP): along with market and Food Pantry volunteers, work together placing local food in distribution boxes (twice monthly, June/July through Sept/Oct).
- Local food pick-ups: work with a local food coordinator to pick up produce from area farms and deliver to the Food Pantry, organizing for the twice-monthly distribution.
- Local harvest teams: harvest local food. At some farms, like Red Willow Farm at Taos Pueblo, interns are able to harvest, wash and pack, and deliver produce to the NCFP.
- Creating social media: take photographs at the market and in the community (at farms) and create social media posts. QFM is on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
- Market information booth: greet community members, track market attendance, assist with the EBT and Double-Up Food Bucks disbursements.
- Merchandise booth: help sell QFM shirts, aprons, stickers, hats, and other items that support the market.
- Coffee booth: receive job training to operate a youth-led coffee booth, gaining experience in the economics and customer service aspects of a small business operation.
- Horno cooking projects: lead cooking projects on Sunday or other days of the week.
- Mentor sites: join coordinated projects at mentor sites in northern Taos county; e.g. working at a farm or with a vendor in a community commercial kitchen, making value-added products.
- Youth-led micro-business projects: Interns with a new idea for a market business will be supported in working through the development and economics of a micro-business.
Collaborating with Area Farms
Our interns meet local growers and learn about agricultural networks from operations like the Red Willow Center, Cerro Vista Farm, and Growing Opportunities hydroponic greenhouse in Alcalde, NM. The direction of the internship is set by interns’ interests. QFM matches these interests with the local community’s food needs.
This season we hope to add Virsylvia Farm in Sunshine Valley and Big Wheel Farm near Costilla, among others, to our farm outreach. If you have an agricultural project where you believe youth involvement could be vital, please contact Gaea McGahee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Market Site
An always important part of the internship is working together to care for (and improve) the market site. During the 2020 season, interns built new garden areas and a horno alongside the very dedicated local craftsman Andy Jaramillo. Projects are energized and enriched when they include peer-to-peer collaboration, mentorship, and intergenerational connection. We will use the horno regularly and interns will be able to lead cooking projects in the coming seasons.
Participants in the Vida del Norte youth summer camps in 2019 and 2020 created multiple garden spaces, and interns also took part. We will continue to care for, plant, and harvest from the gardens this season.
Thank You QFM Interns and Supporters!
Eliot Moody,s Six Weeks With The Questa Farmers Market
Eliot Moody was an intern at Questa Farmers Market for six weeks in 2021. By week three, Eliot was running the coffee stand, making coffee for customers using an Aeropress and the pour-over method (thanks to Fernando and his coffee shop, Just Joe, in Angel Fire for getting us set up). Gaea interviewed him by text.
Gaea: Do you want to write anything about your experience? Or share any reflections? You can do so by text if you like.
Eliot: Sure. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I learned about coffee and I learned about people. I talked to a lot of interesting people with interesting life stories. I learned about problem solving and critical thinking. Like how to make things more efficient or easier. At the food pantry I really learned how to do things quickly when I need to. I learned a lot and I’m glad I was able to do it.
Gaea: Cool! Do you have a favorite memory or place you want to talk about? Or your best skill that you gained or refined?
Eliot: I really liked when we went to get those tomatoes [at Growing Opportunities hydroponic Greenhouse in Alcalde, NM]. It was cool to see the greenhouse and I also just really liked being around people I like. And I’ve gotten pretty good at making coffee: that will be helpful. And I learned how to tend a fire also, and how to make pizza.
Gaea: Awesome! What would you hope to do more of next summer? And what would you like to do that wasn’t possible this year?
Eliot: I’d like to do more work at the food bank. And it would be nice to do that coffee thing we didn’t have time for. I’d also like to learn how to help go around to the vendors and collect the coins and stuff like you do at the end of the day.
Gaea: Yeah! And do you want to see more farms and growing operations? Or harvest a bit?
Eliot: Yeah that would be cool. I’ve always liked learning in general. So it would be cool to learn more about all kinds of stuff.
Gaea: It will be fun and helpful. We’ll all learn a lot. Thank you so much.