Grant will make Green Bay farmers' market safer

Posted on 03/29/24

Meet Me at the Farmers' Market

A proposal to improve safety at the nearly two dozen Farmers’ Market on Broadway events in Green Bay this spring and summer by having a portable Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site has been selected to receive this month’s AARP Wisconsin “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant.

We are awarding $1,000 grants each month throughout 2024 to projects across the state that are designed to make communities better places for everyone to live, work and play as they age.

Betsy Sorensen, Special Events Manager for On Broadway, Inc., submitted the proposal. She said the grant will cover most of the cost of the defibrillator, while community donations, other grants, and the group’s event budgets will pay for any additional equipment needed, as well as training for staff and core volunteers.

On Broadway plans to have the AED ready for use by the first Farmers’ Market on Broadway of the season on May 22. “The Farmers’ Market on Broadway is a Green Bay community staple every year from May through September,” Sorensen said. “The market serves over 200,000 people each season. In order to strengthen our safety plans, our team has decided to purchase an AED machine to have on site.”

The Farmers’ Market is an outdoor event that requires a lot of physical activity in the summer heat. About half of shoppers are over age 50 and at a higher risk for health issues and reactions to heat, air pollution, and crowds.

“In the event of an emergency, we secure routes for emergency vehicles to enter the event, but there are still potential obstacles that could take time to maneuver. Having an AED machine on site for event staff to use immediately could save lives,” she said.

“With a national average of a nine-minute ambulance arrival time, it’s imperative that our market staff be equipped to manage emergency health situations when they arise. Having a robust emergency response plan, which would include an AED, would help put our event attendees at ease.”

On Broadway, Inc. promotes the Broadway District as Green Bay's cultural core for entrepreneurs, creatives, residents, and visitors to engage and succeed in a welcoming environment. The group produces over 50 events a year, 19 of which are the Farmers’ Market on Broadway, an event that includes more than 120 vendors along with musicians and social activities.

Darrin Wasniewski, Associate State Director of Community Outreach for AARP Wisconsin, said, “It is great to see community organizations like On Broadway, Inc. draw meaningful information from resources such as the AARP Disaster Resilience Toolkit. I’m encouraged to see them proactively review their special event operations to improve visitor safety at the Farmers’ Market On Broadway.”

Sorensen said On Broadway is thankful for the grant, and that AARP recognizes the importance of prioritizing safety at events.

“On Broadway is extremely grateful to have been awarded this grant,” she said “Without funds from the AARP, the project would have been delayed until next year, which would’ve meant another season without this life saving measure. We are appreciative of the opportunity to offer an additional level of safety to folks of all ages and abilities at our events.”

AARP Wisconsin launched our “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant program in 2020 and we are now in our fifth year of helping proposed projects move forward in rural and urban parts of the state. For more information, visit

This story is provided by AARP Wisconsin. Visit the AARP Wisconsin page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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