Farming has been a part of Mark Wall’s life as long as he can remember. Born and raised in Southern California, Wall is firmly rooted in the community, remarking, “I actually went to the same high school my mom went to. This area is pretty transient, so I don’t think a lot of people share that experience. Back in her day, cows would sometimes break out onto the football field. A lot has changed since then!”
Mark graduated from high school and started keeping bees in Los Angeles. “One day I saw a tiny ad in the local newspaper for a farmers market that was starting up—farmers markets weren’t really a “thing” back then like they are now. I started selling honey at the market and then an opportunity came up to become a manager,” Wall says. “I’ve been working with farmers markets ever since.”
During this time, Wall went back to school at MiraCosta College. Having worked for a while, he’d already settled into his niche—he enrolled because he enjoyed learning and broadening his perspective. “I was interested in studying Japanese. I used to travel a lot, and I’ve always been fascinated by the way concepts that can’t be expressed in some languages are so elegantly expressed in others.”
For the past 12 years, Wall has served as the coordinator at the Vista Farmers Market in Vista. In his big floppy hat and suspenders, he’s hard to miss. Wall is passionate about supporting farmers and supplying people with high quality, nutritious food. “I always knew food was essential, but the pandemic drove that home. As an essential business, we were ordered by the Governor to stay open. Which we’ve been happy to do. But it was an eye-opener for me, how important what we do at the Vista Farmers Market is to the well-being of our community.”
Wall mentions some of the programs the Vista Farmers Market provides to offer learning opportunities to the community. “We have children’s story telling, a book exchange, and a yearly Kids Market where kids get to sell their products to customers. We also host several wellness fairs throughout the year and participate in local nonprofit and school fundraisers. The market is very much about the community,” explains Wall.
Over the years, Wall has spoken to horticulture classes at MiraCosta, which he hopes to do more of in the future. “It’s a great way to stay connected to the college and to support students interested in growing plants and food,” he says. “It’s important to encourage those interests, because we need more farmers.”