The experiment in the market started out with an article I wrote for the Washington Post just after Labor Day. Crossroads Community Farmers Market accepts government nutritional benefits, even doubles them, charting a new course for farmers markets nationwide that allow greater access to fresh fruit and veggies.
Several of the vendors – Rosa who sells cornhusks and other Central American culinary greens and Nancia with grills from Guatemala are graduates of the Crossroads Community Food Network Micro-enterprise business program. Gabrielle Rovegno, a twenty-something AmeriCorps*Vista volunteer helped develop the program, which is now in year two of a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. She talked me into joining the weekly sessions that began in September and run through November. “You can do this and help to get all the licenses you need to get Seedy Nutty to market.” That’s my goal.
My intake interview was with program coordinator Karina Mendoza, an affable bi-lingual former chocolatier and community organizer from Wisconsin. She asked me about my long-term Seedy Nutty goal. When I told her maybe Trader Joes or the Kosher Market she said, “We can do that.” But you have to get started. Get out there.”
I got my artist son to draw a label, bought 500 plastic bags and colored twist-ems, printed out the Maryland regulation labels and baked. Three days later I was at Crossroads with Seedy Nutty products – original, chocolate and crumbles – for sale and samples for free.