New Manager Takes Over
Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016 12:30 pm
Read article on Herald Independent’s website.
By Kevin Passon
Kourtni Barnes is no stranger to Monona, and thet helped a lot when it came time for the Monona Farmers’ Market to select a new manager.
She moved to Monona with her family – her dad is former City Administrator Pat Marsh – in 2008, and has been active in all things related to the Parks and Recreation Department since then.
“I’m originally from Rock Island, Ill., near the Quad Cities,” she said. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve always been involved with something with parks and rec – soccer, lifeguard, you name it. Actually, it was (Parks and Recreation Department Director) Jake (Anderson) who told me about this position.”
She began her college career at Iowa State but moved back to the area to finish up at Madison College, where she studied in the recreation management program. Today, she is the Community Learning Center coordinator with Madison School & Community Recreation at Schenk Elementary School.
“I run a grant-funded after-school program for students who need help with literacy or math, often both,” she said. “I also do a lot of family outreach.”
Barnes has been with MSCR for more than five years, although this is only her second year at Schenk.
She has coordinated several special events at Schenk and during her time with the Parks and Recreation Department.
Barnes worked several weeks with former market manager Stacy Iruk before going out on her own at the beginning of October.
“The biggest challenge has been remembering who all the vendors are where they go,” she said. “But, many of the vendors have been here so long, they know what they’re doing, and that has made it a lot easier.”
She said it also helped that she could work with Iruk and that the market is essentially planned out for the remainder of the season. The market runs through Oct. 30.
“Stacy has been amazing. She’s always just a phone call away if I need anything,” Barnes said. “I’m sure I’ll see a few more difficulties in the process of planning for next spring.”
Barnes said the vendors and farmers market committee members have been great to work with during her learning phase.
“Everyone is so kind, helpful and inviting,” she said. “It feels so much like a community.”
It hasn’t taken her long to find out she has many new favorite foods at the market. Among them are the stuffed chicken wings, hot and spicy cheese bread, cheese curds and coffee. She also like the idea that market offers more than just foods, including soap, alpaca goods, homemade dog treats, plants and flowers.
The traditional thank-you dinner for the vendors will be held Sunday, when market organizers make chili and provide a cake for those who have sold at the market during the year.
New Board Members
Three members of the steering committee for the market – all volunteers – are stepping aside this year. They are Holly Baris, Christina DeCheck and Rose McNulty.“Their stints with the market have been short, but they all contributed their time and talent,” said Pat Howell, another committee member. Another three to five volunteers are being sought to join the board. The commitment is two to three years and involves three meeting a year, helping set market policy, hiring staff, assisting with special events and other market needs.For more information, talk to Barnes at the Sunday market, or contact Suzanne Wade, 334-4517.
The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Ahuska Park.