MEET DANIELLE (MAP's Markets Director)When COVID-19 starting impacting Buffalo, Taylor (MAP’s former Mobile Market Veggie Van Coordinator) and I were already deep into planning for the market season ahead. Seedlings were sprouting and we were all still buzzing with excitement from a fun and successful SIP & CSA Day event at the Farmhouse where hundreds of people gathered to learn about local farms. We had no idea what to expect for summer.
Then, market season hit. We faced a lot of uncertainties but managed to kick off the season with a few Mobile Market locations across the city. We were faced with a new obstacle -- how do we sell fresh food that no one can touch, sample or really smell? We have relied on the senses, now covered in masks, to help us introduce new foods. We pivoted again. Marketing food without touch, taste or smell required LOTS more talking. We took food home to practice techniques and storage, we printed out extra copies of our recipes, and we coached interns on how to talk to customers about their experiences with the food we sell.
None of this would have been possible without an amazing market team. Taylor, Dan & Karine are the familiar faces you see at our markets. They jumped right into the unknown with me and truly made our market team a family. We were fortunate to take on some fabulous interns, too. Sarah, Johanna, and Heidi walked into the Farmhouse at the beginning of the season, nervous and unsure of how this was going to go. Just a few weeks later we were all happily lugging boxes onto the market truck and talking with folks about dinner time and healthy snacks. Weeks later, Justin, Emily & Brenna joined the team and Joe made a crossover from Farm Intern to the market. Everyone was courageous and upbeat despite the mountains of obstacles we all faced. We knew people were really struggling but to be honest, it didn't feel like that. Everyone that came was happy and welcomed the social interaction. We spent the time at our markets filled with gratitude for folks that were making it out. We spent our time away from markets working on how to reach those that could not make it out.
All Access Pass which supported both our farmers and customers.
I have spent an inordinate amount of time, back at the office, making sure we were following all the ever-changing county and state guidelines. My biggest priority was ensuring SAFE fresh food access and it seems we have accomplished that. Running a business during a pandemic has been a whirlwind but it's been great to be able to help folks fill their fridge with healthy, fresh, and local food.