Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Market in Baltimore


We're harvesting every two to three days right now, picking about four to six pounds of produce each time.

This photo is from last night, right before we had our first neighborhood door-to-door market.

We sold cucumbers, a zucchini, a bag of okra, tomatoes, a few banana peppers, and have an order for $10 worth of greens on Sunday.

We made $13 in about an hour, which isn't too bad! It's not as fabulous as our two-day vegetarian Banh Mi blockbuster at Artscape, but a lot better than the market we spend all day cooking for and broke even at. 

The door-to-door market seems to be a helpful model so far.

Previously we tried setting up a single table at a busy intersection, but that still felt like we were too isolated. No one knew we were there, or wanted to go out of their way to walk up the block for a cucumber. So we decided to bring the market to our neighbors!

The first step was printing out a flyer with a list of our available produce, prices, and our contact information:

My graphic design skills are minimal, so I try to keep it simple! We plan on modifying the flyer to include information about how to volunteer in exchange for produce, and to keep neighbors around the garden up to date on any news we might have.

Since the neighborhood around Boone Street has a really high number of vacancies, we didn't exactly go door-to-door. It would be a waste of time to knock on so many vacant doors, and there might be some folks in the neighborhood who don't want us knocking. So we had to come up with a more strategic way of going around the neighborhood.

Luckily, Baltimore City has a great culture of porch-sitting!

Thanks to http://baltiamore.tumblr.com/ for the photo!
Rather than knock on each door, we first visited the homes of our community gardeners. On the way we talked to anyone outside, showed them our produce display, and handed out flyers. Many people said they had seen us working in the garden (which we do about five days a week) or visited the August block party.

Working at the Boone Street Garden has been a great experience in learning how to spread information old-school style, without Facebook pages or email listserves.

Frequent visibility, block parties, getting to know community gardeners and neighborhood kids, and attending monthly community meetings has been a great way to really get to know the neighborhood!

I'm definitely curious to learn more from those of you who have experience spreading community information, and what you've found works and doesn't.

We should have at least another two months of harvest: pumpkins, tomatoes, greens, radishes, beets, peanuts, sorghum, cilantro, cabbage, endive, lettuce, and cauliflower are all crops that produce in fall.





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