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RIVERSIDE ARTS MARKET APPOINTS NEW MARKET MANAGER
Riverside Arts Market is proud to announce the selection of John Silveira as its new Senior Manager, the position formerly titled RAM Director. John will replace outgoing RAM Director Krysten Bennett and joins the market staff on June 28th.
Adrienne Burke, Executive Director of RAM’s parent organization, Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) said, “We are excited to have John join the team. With his extensive experience and his enthusiasm for markets, we know he will bring great things to RAM.”
John, a U.S. Navy veteran, recently returned to Florida with his family. After his service, he began his twenty-three year nonprofit career with the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA). His passion for healthy communities, local businesses, and the agricultural arts led to the creation of the largest Market Association in the country. He started as a market manager and moved up the ladder, ending his career with PCFMA as their Executive Director. The PCFMA currently manages over sixty farmers’ markets in the San Francisco Bay Area.
One of the highlights of his time with PCFMA was his role in helping create the first hospital-based farmers’ market in the Bay Area with healthcare organization Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser now sponsors over fifty markets throughout the country and continues to educate communities about healthy eating.
John’s past volunteer service includes: President, California Federation of Certified Farmers’ Markets, President, Pleasanton Downtown Association, Member, Brentwood Neighborhood Advisory Committee, Chaired State of California’s Direct Marketing Task Force and Co-Chair State of California’s Department of Agriculture’s Technical Planning Committee.
“It’s been a dream to focus all of my energy on a single marketplace, so I’m thrilled and honored to be part of such a premier market in Florida! I look forward to serving the community and adding to the Riverside Arts Market’s customer experience,” John said.
Bennett added “John’s extensive professional experience in market management will be a tremendous asset to the market. I am looking forward to working with him through the transition and to following RAM’s development under his leadership.”
You may find John at market beginning Saturday, July 2nd. Please take a moment to welcome him to the RAMily!
A MESSAGE FROM THE OUTGOING DIRECTOR
For almost 200 Saturdays I’ve had the privilege of helping bring alive what I believe to be one of North Florida’s greatest assets – a vibrant and welcoming community gathering place that celebrates the vast amount of creative energy that exists in our city.
It’s been an incredible honor to serve my community as the market’s director. I’m overwhelmingly fortunate to have developed countless new relationships during my time with RAM and am eternally grateful to those who have supported my endeavors in a role that has allowed me to learn a great deal about myself, both personally and professionally.
Executing a large-scale event 51 weeks a year is no small feat, and I could not have done so for the last four years without the countless individuals invested in the market’s success as well as my own, from the RAP staff and board of directors, the RAM staff, its Advisory and Vendor Committees, our vendors, performers and volunteers, to my own friends and family and the North Florida community at large. My experience has been immensely rewarding, often challenging and always humbling.
Since making the decision to move on, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the RAMily’s collective accomplishments of which I’m most proud. Together, we have…
- Developed engaging new RAM-produced events, including our 4th of July Fireworks
Viewing Party, River Ruckus, Holidazzle, Small Business Saturday, Kids’ Day, RAMi-Con and more;
- Worked with non-profits like Riverside Rotary to implement the first and subsequent annual Riverside Craft Beer Festivals and assisted We Filipino in relocating Filipino Pride Day to RAM from its previous location, as we’ve also done with Angels for Allison’s Festival of Flight and the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Charity Chili Cook-Off;
- Increased our social media presence from fewer than 4,000 Facebook fans to well over 20,000, and activated Twitter and Instagram as integral resources in communicating with visitors;
- Quadrupled our annual sponsorship income, allowing us to triple our annual advertising expenditures and create three new part time staff positions;
- Opened participation in Winter RAM from just farmers to all of our vendor community, significantly increasing visitation during the not-so-inviting weather months while providing a venue for many of our vendors to continue to generate income during the ‘off season’;
- Created the Morning Yoga at RAM series, providing a uniquely peaceful venue along the water for area yogis to conduct their practice;
- Transitioned our booth reservation system to Manage My Market, a much more user-friendly platform with interactive resources to enhance both the vendor and visitor experiences;
- Converted Farmers Row to a producer-only market and introduced programs to help educate visitors about the benefits of healthy eating, sustainable living and the importance of supporting local farms in order to protect the quality of the local food supply chain, while providing a trusted source of locally grown, seasonal produce for the growing number of individuals who are concerned about knowing the origins of their food, and
- Implemented the ability for qualifying vendors to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, as well as the complementary Fresh Access Bucks program that allows SNAP recipients to double their dollars when purchasing Florida-grown produce, increasing access to fresh, healthy food for low-income individuals living in our community.
My time with the market has also provided some of my very favorite personal experiences, including accompanying, in my kayak, more than a dozen open water swimmers during JumpingFish’s Up the River Downtown, approaching the RAM dock from the waterway responsible for providing our unique venue under
the bridge; witnessing the River Stage wedding of two of our long-time vendors, Cheryl and Theresa of Brown Bean Express; demonstrating my support for waterway conservation by jumping into the St. Johns as part of the Celebrity River Jump during River Ruckus; sharing a Duke’s Brown Ale with my staff while watching Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (my childhood favorite) on the big screen at the end of our first 15 hour on-our-feet-all-day Holidazzle.
Above all, and perhaps most fulfilling, is that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know hundreds of immensely creative individuals while actively promoting the importance of supporting locally owned small businesses, a concept about which I grow more and more passionate every day.
I now look forward to experiencing the market as a RAM fan, as I did actively in its early years. Soon I will be riding my bike through the streets of Riverside and parking it with the Bike Valet so that I can take a morning yoga class on the River Stage while vendors set up for their day, following it up with a chair massage and perhaps a tarot card reading. I’ll then watch a cooking demonstration before buying all of my picked-fresh-yesterday ingredients to recreate the meal at home, grab some meat-on-a-stick before finding my seat in the amphitheater to soak in some live music before I head back out into the market to spend all of my money in support of some truly creative artisans and entrepreneurs.
RAM is truly a remarkable place and I am forever grateful for the experience of being a member of the RAMily.
I trust that I will continue to see all of you under the bridge for seasons to come.
Krysten L. Bennett
Applications for new vendors are now being accepted. Please visit our Vendor Information page for more information.
As a program of Riverside Avondale Preservation, a non-profit community advocacy organization, the Riverside Arts Market relies on tax-deductible contributions from friends like you. Please consider supporting the vibrant community gathering place you know and love by making a tax-deductible contribution to RAM today!
Text “RAM” to 41444
or click the “Donate” tab on our Facebook page