What we worked on
At our first all-team meeting, we discussed our impressions of the current Harvard Farmer’s Market, keeping our advisor Margiana’s anecdotes in mind, and also brainstormed how we thought the Market could be made even better. We isolated 2 immediate goals, which are to improve the marketing and operations of the Market.
What went well
We each have a different set of skills that blend together effectively, and we are all committed to improving the Farmer’s Market and making Margiana’s job a little easier.
What was challenging
At the same time, we each have different goals about what we hope to achieve from the project. Cindy is interested in training non-profit managers to become more business-focused, and Christian is interested in creating a community between the Market vendors and local participants in the food industry, like restaurants and perhaps HUDS.
In addition, there is no one large problem with the Farmer’s Market for us to tackle. There seem to be small, distinct areas for improvement, but the Market is sustainable and functioning well on the whole. As a result, it is hard to know where to start our project and where to direct it, and this has been why we have seen differing goals among ourselves.
What’s up next
Niousha and Christian are meeting at the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday 9/30 to speak with vendors about their experience with participating in the market, the things they like and don’t like, and how we could add value to their experience. We will also speak with Margiana more in-depth about how the finances of the market are run.
Our immediate focuses, as stated above, are marketing and operations. Regarding Marketing, we want to improve the Farmer’s Market website and Facebook page to better advertise the variety at the Market and encourage consumers to see the Market as a true alternative to grocery stores. Ideas we have for the website include forms for farmers and guests, farmer biographies, advertisements, and the weekly content currently sent out as newsletters.
We think a well-functioning website is very interrelated to Operations, because having an event-management system and automated emails as available options on the website will make managing the market a lot easier. In addition to facilitating management of the Market, we think Operations could be improved by focusing more on the business of the Market, which means finding ways to increase (and measure?) traffic and make the market profitable.
Finally our last, more long-term goal is to expand the role of the Market and further integrate it into the local community. We hope to potentially increase the variety at the Market and add more prepared food options, so that the Market is truly seen as an alternative to the grocery store and a fun, delicious place to buy lunch on Tuesdays. We would also like to help connect vendors with potential partners in the area and increase the strength of the community amongst the vendors, perhaps through a short weekly meeting during downtime at the Market.
Christian (College ’17), Niousha (Law ’15), and Cindy (Education ’15)