Volunteer Spotlight: Gretchen Grabow

VFM has 80+ volunteers who dedicate hundreds of hours to our organization each year. From counting Market Money to playing host at our neighbourhood sites, our markets simply wouldn’t be the same without their hard work and dedication. This month, we’re celebrating a very special volunteer – someone who has been working with us since the early days of Trout Lake Market in 1995! Meet Gretchen Grabow, superstar Main St. Station volunteer and all-round wonderful person…

Q: Tell us where you’re from and what you did before volunteering with us.
A: I’m from Minneapolis and lived in Ohio briefly for grade school, then I moved back to Minneapolis for university. I moved to San Fransisco a few years later and lived there for about 5 years before moving to Vancouver in 1969.

I’m a retired social worker and worked in Vancouver for 30 years after immigrating here from the US. I was working in San Francisco in the Fillmore projects in the 60s when they started redeveloping the area and people were being displaced. In 1968 there were two assassinations in the same year, Martin Luther King Jr and President Kennedy. With that and the Vietnam War, I decided to move to Canada.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Vancouver Farmers Markets?

A: I was part of the very first volunteer team when the Trout Lake market first opened…over 20 years ago!

Q: Amazing! What keeps you coming back?

A: I believe in local and the farmers markets is a reflection of my values. It’s really about connection with people who grow my food. I’m also really fond of the staff. Roberta, Jen, Laura and Gabby are all wonderful to work with!

Q: What’s been your favourite market moment?

A: A few years ago at the 20th anniversary, the staff was taking a big group photo at the Main St market. Someone yelled out “Gretchen, get in the photo!” and I said that I wasn’t part of the staff but they insisted I be part of the photo since I’ve been around longer than most of the staff! It made me feel so important and was a wonderful acknowledgement. It really touched my heart.

Q: Do you volunteer anywhere else?

A: I used to volunteer at the local Amnesty International. I was a chair person for 12 years!

From all of us at VFM, thank you Gretchen!

Interested in volunteering with us? Find more info on our Volunteer page.