End Of Year Wrap-Up
Fresh for Less Mobile Markets
The Mobile Market coordinator team of Mariana and Natalie saw a steady stream of loyal repeat customers who depend on the markets. An evaluation prepared by the UT School of Public Health found that 80% of customers reported that their families increased the amount of fruits and vegetables they ate, and nearly 70% said that their families’ variety of fruits and vegetables increased as a result of shopping at the markets.
We had robust sales for fall and spring seasons ($32,340.50 with 21% of those purchase made using SNAP and Double Dollars), meaning we are reaching more people who seek fresh produce and quality grocery items for themselves and their families. Special thanks to Wheatsville Co-op, World’s Best Eggs, Austin Honey Company, Farm to Table, Fruitful Hill Farm, Urban Roots and JBG for providing the very best for our customers.
This spring marks the second year that Michelle has taught fall and spring Farmer Starter classes. Since its first class in 2014, we have graduated 29 Farmer Starters in seven classes. Of the graduates with whom we have been able to contact, more than 50% are actively farming, and more than 80% of grads are working in farming or food/agriculture-related work.
The Farmer Starters and the Farmshare team took advantage of some terrific learning opportunities by attending TOFGA-sponsored Korean Natural Farming workshop, Texas A&M Field Days, and touring the Whole Foods Regional Distribution Center.
On the farm, last December we co-hosted with Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition a sold-out, two-day Market Garden Workshop led by J.M. Fortier and in June a half-day food safety workshop taught by National Young Farmers Coalition. Michelle also hosted two crop-planning workshops open to the community.
Farmshare Land Link
Formally launching in February, Farmshare Land Link connects people with farm land with farmers looking for land to farm or ranch. We’ve successfully made connections in Brenham, Austin, Oak Hill and Seguin, keeping farmland as farmland and keeping farmers farming!
Given the growth of Mobile Market sales, most of the produce grown at Farmshare goes directly from our fields to our customers. The rest is sold wholesale to distributors like Farm to Table and Farmhouse Delivery and local restaurants. Let us know if you’d like to be added to our wholesale list.
Welcoming New Staff
We welcomed some new faces at Farmshare this year! Heather joined the team in February as Mobile Market Manager having worked on farms, food access and community gardens in Buffalo and Birmingham. Diana started in March as our new bookkeeper, bringing with her additional handy knowledge on vehicle maintenance!
Each season, we hire a recent Farmer Starter graduate as Assistant Farm Manager. Last fall, Brian Doucet filled that role. He is now setting up farm operations near Paige, Texas. We just said a sad goodbye to Dallas Perry, our spring Assistant Fall Manager. And, Erin Waters began in late June.