In partnership with a community organizing effort (Neighbors without Borders), students will work to establish a “Village Farmers Market” at Edmondson-Westside High School in West Baltimore. This will support the desire of people for a vital gathering space where they can buy locally grown food and enjoy all that a village square can offer to a community. Students in this project module will study disparities in healthy food access within the US generally and in Baltimore particularly. Working closely with this partner, students will learn by doing what is required to create a community-based farmers market. Some of the tasks will include: Supporting a marketing and outreach campaign, including developing their Facebook page, undertaking community-based market research to determine which products community members most want to find at a market, identifying farmers to participate in the market, working through the protocols to ensure SNAP (food stamps) and other public benefits can be used at this market, and working through other needs that the community partner identifies in order to prepare for the Grand Opening of the Village Farmers Market in May 2015.
- Project Description: Students working on this project will collaborate with a community partner “Neighbors Without Borders” to prepare for the May 2 launch of a new farmers market in West Baltimore. The Village Farmers Market is an initiative of Neighbors Without Borders, a community organizing initiative seeking to improve the quality of life and community cohesion among multiple neighborhoods in the greater southwest/west Baltimore area. Organizers of this project have multiple, overlapping motivations, among which are the increase of healthy food access among the residents of these communities and to generate community development.
- Identification of Food System issues that this project seeks to address (e.g., healthy food access on campus, community food access for non-UMBC community members, environmental sustainability, reduction of food waste, etc.):
This project seeks to improve healthy food access in neighborhoods in West Baltimore. This project also seeks to develop greater awareness of Baltimore City and opportunities for relationships among UMBC students and our neighbors in West Baltimore.
- Project Goals/Objectives (some may be conditional, e.g., if we get permission for X, then Y):
- Support the successful creation and May 2 launch of the Village Farmers Market.
- Support the establishment of systems required for seamless interface between the Market and market shoppers relying on WIC, SNAP and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits.
- Project deliverables (may be more focused and specific than project goals)
- Rigorous and effective communication materials and social media campaign
- Actual contact with high percentage of homes and institutions in the catchment zone for the Village Farmers Market
- (possible) UMBC student volunteers to support the market opening and first season
- Associated Cognitive and Affective Learning Objectives
- Acquire knowledge about the steps and processes involved in setting up and developing a new farmers market
- Acquire knowledge about the relationship between healthy food access and health outcomes
- Improved understanding of the historical trajectory of stressed Baltimore City neighborhoods
- Be able to explain the origin and recent developments in SNAP, WIC and Farmers Market Senior Nutrition Program and the rationale for linking these programs to farmers markets.
- Develop awareness of whether and how effective farmers markets are in improving dietary patterns
- Develop a relationship with a particular community and people in a nearby Baltimore City neighborhood.
- Actual or potential partners/collaborators
- Neighbors Without Borders and its Community Development Committee
- Food/Nutrition educators
- Edmondson-Westside HS
- Shriver Center?
- True Greens?
- Current and potential stakeholders or interested parties (both on and off campus)
- Members of NWB
- Community members in the areas surrounding the farmers market
- Area faith institutions
- Area schools
- Area businesses
- Area health care providers
- Other vendors
- Skills and knowledge that will be useful to the project
- Communications (fliers)
- Use of social media
- Physical strength (for market day launch assistance)
- Resources (books, AV, people) for the project
- Closing the Food Gap (Winne)
- Maryland Food System Map, http://mdfoodsystemmap.org/
- Baltimore City Food Environment (in google drive)
- Baltimore City Food Policy Initiative (in google drive)
- Maryland Farmers Market Association
- Jill Harrison, volunteer Market Manager for VFM
- Budget and budgetary considerations
- This group can have $200-300 for its needs
- Minimal needs, for flier production
- What else?
11. Probable communication/outreach needs and opportunities
- The development of communication materials and strategies is the primary focus of this project
- Focus is the community surrounding VFM (at Athol and Edmondson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229), but should we consider links to UMBC?
12. Preliminary needs and issues concerning the long-term sustainability of the project
- There will not be significant sustainability issues; however, students will want to make sure that they don’t get ahead of the organizing entity, Neighbors Without Borders, and that any materials that are created are handed off to the appropriate NWB members.
13. Likely or possible challenges this project may encounter
- Coordinating with off-site, non-UMBC partners,
- Transportation to meetings off-site or to market launch
14. Student final project possibilities (10 page research paper + tangible deliverable, or 25 page research paper with reflections on links to class project)
- Research paper on the effectiveness of interventions linking food assistance programs to farmers markets
- Research paper and/or development of materials to support nutrition education opportunities (programs, fliers, demonstrations, etc.) taking place at farmers markets.
- Research and recommendations on how to link UMBC to the ongoing development and success of this particular farmers market.
- What else?
15. Ideas or suggestions from the partner about what students can do to help
UMBC Student Involvement Ideas
This file is a shared/editable space for ideas from the VFMarket organizers to engage college students in working with the Village market. Jill Wrigley will be involving her students with helping to support the farmers’ market, and is looking for project/task ideas to present for the students consideration.
The following is an initial list of ideas to consider:
1) Reach out to West Baltimore Care (HealthyWestBaltimore.org) to investigate opportunities to collaborate with them and ask them to promote our farmers market.
2) Investigate the programs available from Maryland Farmers Market Assoc we might collaborate with (http://www.marylandfma.org/programs/eat-fresh-maryland/) like the ‘Eat Fresh Maryland’ and ‘Maryland Market Money’ programs & make flyers we can use at the market to educate the public about these programs.
3) Social media outreach: Launch a Facebook campaign to educate the public about the market & possibly generate statistics on the effectiveness of this as an outreach tool.
4) Design a newsletter format for a mailchimp campaign. A weekly newsletter that would have articles like “vendor of the week”, recipes for seasonal foods, health tips, etc.
5) Help develop a community survey of local institutions we might partner with (like the medical clinic & the WIC office in the Village shopping center).
6) Help create a sponsorship campaign for outreach to the local institutions they’ve identified above.
7) Work with the students at Edmondson Westside High School in mapping the layout of the market and exploring ways for the high school students to be involved.