Vendor stand at last year’s market. (Photo: Billy Green)

The return of the green leaves and warm weather means many different things to many people, but in Germantown, it’s Farmers Market season. Saturday, April 20, the Germantown Farmers Market (GFM) returns to its usual Market Square location, bringing the same joy and access to fresh food but under new-ish leadership.

Billy Green (they/them), owner and barber at the Queer & Trans-affirming Odabu in East Germantown, had sold their selection of plant-based, gender-neutral botanical products, like soaps and oils, to anyone interested at the market. But they were also one of many vendors who showed up on the first day of last year’s season to learn that it would not continue, though the dates were already set.

“After building up so much excitement for the first day, it felt very much disappointing to hear that the rest of the year, that I had planned, wasn’t going to go the way I expected it to,” shared Green.

However, the possibility of Germantown losing the legacy of having a space dedicated to farmers and folks who provide food access was much more detrimental to Green. With this in mind, they sprang into action — and quickly.

“I kind of volunteered to ask if anyone else would be interested in taking over the market,” Green said. “And so after hearing that was not the case, I kind of immediately was  given the responsibility and kind of had to figure it out between [the first] market and the next market (two weeks away) with very little information.”

Green then conducted a “deep dive” to learn how to run a neighborhood farmers market effectively and officially assumed the position of GFM operator in April 2023. Moving into the 2024 season, Green is still navigating challenges in their new-ish role.

One of these challenges includes ensuring consistency between the market and the vendors. Green explains, “Showing up at the times and dates that we claim. And not only in terms of being transactional but also consistency in the ways in which we build relationships with the community.”

Another challenge for Green has been trying to make sure folks who receive SNAP and WIC benefits can still partake in the market. The abrupt shift last year didn’t allow for proper planning or finding a farmer that accepted those benefits mid-season. Though it has not been finalized, they hope to know whether they can be a SNAP/EBT hub this year where folks can use their benefits to buy tokens to buy other things at each booth.

“It’s one thing I’ve really been working on for about a year for the vendors,” said Green. “Most of the time, you can only buy it at the farm stand when there are actually lots of other offerings that qualify.”

But through the challenges, their new stewardship of the GFM has been a joyous thing for Green.

“What has brought me the most joy is creating a space in which folks are excited to be a part of. And uplifting and supporting [vendors] who are just getting their foot in the door or giving folks that might have been pushed out of other markets a platform. I think neighborhood and community-based interactions is what I’m most excited about.”

In addition to food access, Green says the market provides connectivity to Germantown. They said, “I would say a lot of that joy has been vocalized from folks in the community in regards to wanting more third places in the neighborhood to engage and be involved in. I think a lot of people love that they’re able to meet their neighbors in a space that feels welcoming.”

They also say having a free, outdoor space for people to gather is vital. “I think for me and a lot of folks in Northwest Philly, it’s also an opportunity to be in a space for free, regardless of whether they pay to be there or not. And, especially in the age of COVID, I think people  talk about COVID like it’s over. But there’s a lot of folks in pockets of disability justice who are still advocating and fighting for outdoor safe spaces.”

They continue: “And I think since 2020, my goal is really to try to create those spaces for folks in which basically there is no barriers of entry as a guest in the space, whether that be physically or socially, and kind of trying to create a sensory-rich environment that accommodates all bodies.”

Green also makes it clear that though they are the primary operator, it has been a collaborative effort to pull off the market, and gives thanks to Uncle Bobbie’s for allowing folks to use their bathroom during the market’s operating hours, Historic Germantown for letting them use shed space, and even staff at Germantown United CDC for providing a range of support.

This year, neighbors can expect a core set of 15 to 20 vendors appearing at every market and pop-up vendors coming occasionally. Vendor selection will be revealed closer to the market launch. Things offered will include but are not limited to, raw fruits and vegetables, pickles, jams, syrups and honey, juices and smoothies, and more. 

The only stipulation for vendor participation is that they must have some type of land-based relationship. Green elaborates, saying, “That could be their relationship with a farmer, whether that’s foraging or farming, or having someone else grow things for you. We really want to try to create a space that’s uplifting and supporting local agriculture.”

One thing folks should note is the former community-supported agriculture (CSA) program partnered with Philly Forests is no longer available. However, the market will partner with Wyncote Farms, an agriculture program under Wyncote Academy, to do seasonal CSA pick-up with spring, summer, and fall options. 

The new-ish GFM will operate biweekly from Saturday, April 20, through June 29. They will break in July, return on August 10th, and run until November 16th. You can find it at the usual spot at Market Square on Germantown Avenue in between Church and School House Lanes.

You can also stay updated with GFM on Instagram and at, where folks can view the market’s schedule and find vendor applications.