Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UDC Farmers Market Closes for the Season

The time has come for the UDC farmers market to close for the season. Located in front of the David A. Clarke School of Law, the market has been open on Saturdays since May 17. The season ended on Nov. 22, to give patrons the opportunity to use the market as a resource for their Thanksgiving meal preparation. In addition to all of the vendors, special thanks to Kelli Webster,  and Andrea Herrera, who managed the market under the leadership of Dr. Wayne Curtis. And of course, thanks to the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health for the tastings and demonstrations provided by Chef T on a regular basis. Farmers market staff, customers and vendor reflect on the season:

Dr. Wayne Curtis, Project Specialist, CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development - This farmers market season was my first, and I learned a lot more about the sense of community and the sense of interaction beyond the purchase of goods and services. You got to know the community and the vendors better, and I think it's one of those traditions that should continue for a long time. Chef T's presence at the market allowed us to show people how to prepare the different produce being sold, and also gave people the chance to interact with us and talk about menus and food preparation. I think it added to the overall sense of community. 

Chef T, Community Educator, CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health - My job is to share nutritional information and to bring awareness to health and wellness and learn how to prepare their foods. The season was very successful. People not only like to taste samples, but they love providing feedback! 

Laura Lukes, Patron - I come to the UDC market every Saturday. There is a huge variety of fresh produce, and very affordable, too, over regular supermarkets. I make my baby fresh food with the different vegetables. I'm devastated the season is ending! 

 Elizear Abeno, Vendor - It was a good year, and even more people have been coming out. I've got faithful customers who don't miss a beat. I loved it and look forward to next year!

Xiangliang Shi, UDC market staff - As an international student, it was a great experience for me, being able to talk with different people. There is still more work to be done such as being able to offer programs such as WIC and SNAP. I also loved being able to share healthy recipes with the public.

Dr. Mindy Reiser - This is great. I've learned many new recipes that are always tasty. The market is a lift to my Saturdays. 

Sheila Cleckner, Vendor - THis is my third year here and I love it. The location is great and I do really well here! 

Kelli Webster, UDC market staff - It's been an enjoyable experience. learned the importance of customer service. We even extended the season an additional month based upon customer feedback!

Omar Flores, Vendor - People love this market. Our sales keep growing every year! 

Andrea Herrera, UDC Market Staff - Even though I joined later in the season, it was a great experience. I can see how important the farmers market is to both the neighborhood and the vendors. 

Customer service is integral to the sustainability of the farmers market. Feedback from the various stakeholders helps to build relationships, learning what patrons are looking for and We also talk directly with market patrons to understand what they expect and what they are looking for, as well as the vendors, who receive information Data such as volume patterns and customer demographics. As a program under the CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), data analysis is just as important to ensure the future of the market. CSD will compile data collected over the duration of the season and will put forth strategic recommendations for the 2015 season. Can't wait to see what's in store next year!

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