Horsforth Farmers’ Market is one of many springing up across the country, but this one’s unusual because it’s hosted by local churches, and takes place in the car park of the Church of England Primary School. It’s been a real success, and in October celebrates its third birthday.
One of the organisers, Peter Gillions from St James’s Church, says, “Our aim is that it’s a vibrant market which supports local producers, promotes good stewardship of the environment and positive community interaction. And the Town Council are so pleased with the way it's helped the community to flourish they’ve given us more money than we asked for!
“While the market is not overtly evangelistic, it’s nevertheless an expression of the churches’ desire to build community, and of our Christian understanding of the need to cherish our God-given planet. What gives us credibility is getting on and doing things well without waving a flag for the church too wildly. So it’s a slow drip, drip, letting people see what the church is about.”
The market focuses on food with around 20 stalls and there’s also always a Horsforth Churches Together stall and a Horsforth Matters stall which each month focuses on a different local project, such as the foodbank or the Live at Home scheme which looks after the elderly.
Local shops are pleased too; because of the increased footfall, it’s meant more business for them. In fact, the butchers and hairdressers say that market day is their busiest day of the month.
Another organiser, Duncan Stow, says, “The market offers a different shopping experience, you meet the people who produce the food and there’s space to stop and talk. We put on entertainment too – such as live music or a bouncy castle - which also encourages people to interact. We see it as part of our Christian mission, we have welcomers there and we regularly pray for the market. It’s a way of sharing our faith in a low-key, relational way. And the stall holders say it’s the friendliest market they go to!”
The market has now begun to make a profit, with the money donated to good causes, such as the local children’s centre and a school in Uganda.
Horsforth Farmers’ Market is in held in the car park St Margaret’s Primary School car park from 9am -12.30pm on the first Saturday of each month (excluding January).
Contact: Peter Gillions 0113 258 8575
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