BMSP Finds Second Home in the Jewelry District

This fall we launched a pilot packed share program for Brown community members in the Jewelry District. Our intention was simple: we wanted to ensure that Brown staff and medical students in the Jewelry District had access to the same things offered up on the hill – in this case, weekly shares of affordable, fresh, local produce. We had conversations with previous shareholders who told us they loved the program, but their one-hour lunch break on Thursday was not enough time to walk one mile up the hill, pick up their share, return, and still have lunch. Others said that working in the Jewelry District was sometimes isolating and that they wanted local food too!

So, we responded.

This summer, we sent out an interest form, and within a few days had over fifty responses that said YES, we want Market Shares here! In the weeks thereafter, we received an influx of emails and messages through our social media accounts asking for Market Shares to come to the Jewelry District. As a team, we talked about a range of logistical challenges, from delivery to refrigeration, and ultimately decided that we had to figure out how to make it work.

After many weeks of searching, Allen Hance, the director of the TRI-Lab, responded to our call for a space to hold pick-up. The lab this year is focused on food access, so it seemed like the perfect fit. The location was also ideal: situated at 10 Davol Square, the TRI-Lab was a five-minute walk from Brown offices and the medical school in the Jewelry District. A member of the coordinating team then convinced her older sister to transport the shares, as the only alternative for transportation on such short notice would be too costly. We opened sign-ups for one week. Then, on September 25th, the ten-week pilot program began.

While there have been some bumps along the road, the feedback we have received from our shareholders has been wonderful. Here are some of the things they have had to say about why they are participating in the pilot program this season:

“Having participated in BMSP, what has been most exciting for you?”
“Meeting vegetables that I’ve never really worked with before has been fun. It’s soup weather so I’ve been making tons and tons of soup with the ingredients and trying out new recipes. . . It’s an exciting grab bag of vegetables each week and you don’t really know what you’re going to get. And having it down here is really convenient and awesome, so I hope that this going to continue.” - Carlen

Jennifer (pictured) & Olivia (not pictured)
“What has been the best part of Market Shares for you? Why do you enjoy it?”

“I feel like I prepared myself to have a small bag going into this. I thought for what I was paying, and [the share] being local, I was going to get a little bag of ingredients; but every week when I get my bag, I’m so delighted. It seems like a great value. It’s just so exciting—even though I know what’s going to be in it—to open it up, and see everything that’s in the bag.” - Jennifer

“For me it’s my son to be able to eat fresh veggies—not that he didn’t before because I’m a vegetarian—but I think it’s just the routine- cooking, for me. And I get to add different greens in my smoothie! Because I’m a green smoothie girl. [My son] loves smoothies, so thats a way for me to incorporate greens in his diet because he doesn’t quite chew lettuce. But in a smoothie with bananas and blueberries, he loves it.” - Olivia

“Everything is so beautiful! The kale and the beet greens; you can’t get stuff like that at the grocery store. I don’t live near Whole Foods. I don’t have access to stuff like that.” - Jennifer

We have secured a more permanent location at the first floor cafeteria of 110 Elm for next season. Fortunately, Loren Williams, the Operations Manager, has allowed us to use the space each Thursday. This will enable us to grow our numbers to include more packed shares and our supplemental items – dairy, eggs, and meat. We plan to find a more permanent solution for transportation over the next couple months and increase our publicity to reach more Staff and Medical students in the Jewelry District. We are incredibly excited for the rest of this season and look forward to an even larger Market Shares Jewelry District community next spring!

Photographs by Maddy Rotman.


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