LEADERSHIP AS A LIFESTYLE—MARKET MANAGER ABBIE BREWER

Families seeking healthful foods should look no further than the Montrose Farmers Market, notes market manager Abbie Brewer. Market photo by Barton Glasser.

Families seeking healthful foods should look no further than the Montrose Farmers Market, notes market manager Abbie Brewer. Market photo by Barton Glasser.

By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE—(July 16, 2013) With four growing kids, she has already invested in the future. So protecting that investment only makes sense.
Abbie Brewer has built her career in the non-profit world, raising awareness of issues that impact the health of humans and the environment. As Executive Director of the FORE (Focus on Resource Efficiency) Alliance, she worked to promote green energy technologies and practical ways to improve energy efficiency. Today Brewer manages the Montrose Farmers Market, working to bring greater attention to the wonderful variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and promoting the benefits of an active, healthful lifestyle.
The Market presently includes between 27 and 32 vendors, and is run by a seven-person board, noted Brewer, who has sought creative ways to draw shoppers to the market at South First and Uncompahgre between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Saturday.
“We recently celebrated National Pollination Week,” she said. “Kate Harvey, who is on our board, actually found a bee costume for me! Some residential beekeepers brought hives to the market, and educated kids. It really was a great time.
“Now we are hoping for peaches,” she said. “My mom has already made me a peach costume!”
Obtaining sponsors for the market to enhance its sustainability has also been on Brewer’s agenda.
“Bank of Colorado is our major sponsor,” she said. “They have given us $5,000 in cash. Dalby-Wendland is also a sponsor, and JACK FM (radio 97.7 Grand Junction and 104.9 Montrose)has given us $5,000 in-kind, which is awesome—they wanted to invest! And the City of Montrose has given us $500.”
So far this year consumer turnout has been strong, she said. Expect different themes throughout the season as producers bring new crops to market, and fun extras like how-to demonstrations and Sarah Brewer’s handmade hula hoops.
Brewer also serves on the board of the Workforce Center, and is presently contracting to coordinate the LiveWell Colorado Summer of Health Campaign in Montrose. LiveWell is a Denver-based non-profit organization created to reduce obesity by promoting healthy eating and active living.
“LiveWell has been doing a lot with schools and with community gardens,” she said. “They provide seed money for other programs, things like Work site wellness. The funding can help our community tap into other possibilities, and I believe we need to make use of as many resources as we can. I believe in this community, and I have found that if you are willing to step up and make a difference there are so many people behind you.”
Human beings are social, and reinforcement from others can help individuals to achieve desired changes, she noted.
“If you want to create behavior change, you need to get out and about,” she said. “If you don’t invest, it won’t happen. We are the only ones who can make it happen!”