The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 14, 2012

Doing their part for the community

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Enid is home to a number of community service organizations and almost without exception they all depend on volunteers to complete their missions.

Among those volunteers is Stephanie Ezzell, who is active in the community in a number of capacities, including the popular Farmers Market, on the southeast corner of Grand and Garriott.

Ezzell and husband Ben have been involved with Farmers Market almost from the beginning a few years ago. Ben overheard a planning meeting at DaVinci’s Coffee Shop while studying for law school.

“He became interested and that’s how we became involved,” she said.

On Saturday mornings during Farmers Market season, which begins this year on May 12, Stephanie and Ben, along with their daughter, Nora, can be found at Farmers Market performing a variety of tasks. From time to time they have helped direct traffic or set up canopies for vendors and toys for children, displayed merchandise, sold T-shirts or water, provided general market information, manned the co-op table and even acted as greeters.

“It’s a lot of fun. There are new people who discover Farmers Market all the time, and new vendors,” Ezzell said.

Behind the scenes

Farmers Market is an outlet for a lot of people for their creativity, small businesses or surplus of garden items they did not think was worth anything. Ezzell said the children’s involvement also is good.

“Farmers Market has a program for children under 10 who participate with their parents who are vendors. Their application fee is waived,” she said.

Volunteers sometimes are lacking on a Saturday morning, and board members man everything as much as possible, she said. There are many behind-the-scenes volunteers, people who keep merchandising organized, keep trash and recycling separate and take them off-site and keep the grounds in order.

Active in their hometown

The Ezzells lived in Oregon for three years where she said there were “amazing” farmers markets. The markets were well established and offered prepared food vendors, music and nursery plants, along with other items. That passion for the markets followed them when they returned to Enid, she said. Ben worked for a non-profit organic food certification company while they lived in Oregon, and they became interested in the natural lifestyle, which fits into the markets, she said.

Although they liked Oregon, it didn’t feel like “home” to the couple who grew up in Enid. They determined if they were moving back, they needed to put as much of themselves into Enid as they could, to make it a place their children would want to stay.

While active with Farmers Market they also are involved in other areas. Ben will is an incoming board member of Enid Arts Council, Stephanie is president of Democratic Women’s Club and volunteers with Main Street Enid. Ben learned civic activity from his parents, David and Cheri Ezzell, who are active in the community and former members of Enid City Commission.

“We learned that if you don’t like where you are, don’t complain unless you are trying to change it,” Stephanie Ezzell said.