A Slow Movement Towards Change: Some Vendors Make the Move Away From the Poulsbo Farmers Market

After celebrations for LGBTQ+, and Black Lives Matter, among other things, are restricted by Gateway Fellowship church, the market continues on, minus several vendors.


Adrie Starkenburg

A vendor hangs a pride flag in show of support, despite not being allowed to hold celebrations.

The Poulsbo Farmers market has been up and running successfully since 2004. In 2010 and 2011, Poulsbo was nominated for the title of “Farmers Market of the Year”, and in 2014, 30,000 customers were recorded as having visited that year. Only five of those years has the market been held at Gateway Fellowship church, and since then, the market has seen several vendors move, in hopes of change. Amid the controversy, the market continues on for the season. 

Pending a change of location, we have decided that our only choice is to leave the market… We have many friends who are vendors and customers at the market and are saddened to have to make this decision,” an announcement made on the Around the Table Farm website read.

People shopping at the Poulsbo Farmers market (Adrie Starkenburg )

Around the Table Farm, a local farm that sells at the farmers market, their own farmstand, and their own CSA, has been vending at the Poulsbo Farmers Market for 11 years. 

Upon Gateway Fellowship church, the parking lot of which is the venue for the Poulsbo Farmers Market, restricting celebrations that were hoping to be held at the market, they decided to leave. 

“As a business, we are committed to equity, inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability…Gateway has told the market that we can’t hold celebrations for such events as Juneteenth, Pride, Indigenous People’s Day, Immigrants’ Day and Women’s Day..,” the announcement, which was also shared on Around the Table Farm’s Instagram page, also read. 

People shopping at the Poulsbo Farmers market (Adrie Starkenburg )

Dana Steege-Jackson, a member of the family who runs Around the Table Farm, says that they didn’t know prior to setting up the farmers market at Gateway Fellowship, that there were going to be restrictions. 

“Unfortunately, we didn’t think about it in advance as a market… I mean we just didn’t talk about it with them… I guess we had assumed that our sort of non profit could do its own thing… we didn’t know that they were going to have any say over how we ran the market,” Steege-Jackson said, over the phone.  


Prior to being held in the Gateway Fellowship parking lot, it was held at Poulsbo Parks and Rec, and also in The Doctor’s Clinic parking lot. 

Steege-Jackson also says of the decision to leave, “It’s been a while and coming. This has been multiple years of trying to figure out how to adjust the situation, and feeling like we couldn’t.” 

She cites that one of the main reasons for their move from the Poulsbo Farmers market, was the people that work with them, saying that they [at Around the Table Farm] felt it would be an “uncomfortable,” and “unwelcoming” environment for people who are queer or people of color. 

A vendor hangs a pride flag in show of support, despite not being allowed to hold celebrations. (Adrie Starkenburg )

She notes the importance however, of mentioning that there are still people who are queer, and people of color staying at the market. 

“We put in our second [Instagram] post… we don’t intend for people to boycott the market. We want people to take action to make Poulsbo as a whole, and our market, more welcoming and equitable.” 

This is not the first time that the Gateway Poulsbo church has done something seemingly controversial, that caused disruption in the community. August 2021, the church had invited an anti-critical race theory conservative speaker named

A ‘welcome’ sign at the entrance of Gateway Fellowship church.

Joseph Backholm to come speak at a 9 AM Sunday service. 

The Kitsap Sun said, “Multiple former members of the church plan to gather Sunday morning by the church to protest Backholm.”

 The article also states that the protest organizers had reached out to pastors Tom Duchemin and Dave Fischer, “asking them to revoke Backholm’s invitation but did not receive a response.”

 Another protest organizer, who had made a comment on the church’s Facebook page asking for Backholm not to be invited, said their comment on the post was deleted.

Gateway Fellowship Church declined to comment.