Community

Market manager leaves mid-season

By SARAH SCHWARZ
For The Beachcomber

Last Saturday’s Farmers Market was the last day as manager for Johanna Guevin. Long time islander Jordan Beck will be taking over the position for the rest of the season, after which, the VIGA board will go through a more formal hiring process.

“We are so sad to see her go,” said Vashon Island Growers Association President Merrilee Runyan. “She is a wonderful young woman with tremendous energy. We certainly have nothing but good feelings and appreciation for her.”

VIGA, which runs the weekly Farmers Market, hired Guevin earlier this year to manage the market. Originally from Georgia, she moved to the island from Sitka, Alaska for the position, in hope that her husband would find a job in Seattle and join her later in the year, she said. Since this did not pan out, she will be moving back to Sitka. She still hopes to move to Vashon with him permanently, when it makes financial sense.

“I definitely still want to move here,” she said. “When the time is right.”

She said that she and her husband have known they want to move to an island in the Pacific Northwest for some time now. They researched the islands in the area, and Vashon stood out.

“The schools are great,” said Guevin. “We have family and friends in Seattle, so it made sense. Also, I am a farmer and the soil here is amazing, so that was a draw.”

Guevin said her time with the market has been “sensational.” She enjoyed meeting and working with all the vendors, and was especially thrilled with the focus on sustainability present in the Vashon farming community.

“It has been one of the hardest decisions to move back,” said Guevin. “Vashon is a community filled with so many different talents and passions.”

She hopes to eventually return to the market, most likely as a vendor, when she and her husband start a small farm. She has experience farming both vegetables and animals of different varieties.

When Beck heard that Guevin was leaving, she offered to step up and serve as the interim manager. The VIGA board wanted to create a smooth transition, and Beck’s experience with the market made her a good fit, said Runyan.

“I had always considered the position, but never thought I was ready,” said Beck. “Now I feel ready.”

She began working with the market many years ago as a vendor, when she interned with an island farm. She now has a small homestead with her family, which includes chickens and in the past, pigs. This year, she has been serving on the VIGA board, though she will take a leave of absence from this position while she holds the role of manager. Beck and Guevin worked together at last week’s market, and Beck will take over fully Saturday.

Both Runyan and Guevin have enormous confidence in Beck, and feel that she will make the transition smooth and easy.

“We couldn’t have found a better person to replace me,” said Guevin.

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