We made our way back to the farmer’s market the next Thursday as planned, but upon arrival we learned that the president was not in fact in the office. Luckily, we were allowed to talk to the vendors anyway. The first vendor we spoke with turned out to have a wealth of information. He runs a small stand, but sells a large variety of produce ranging from tomatoes to kolrabi. Because of the small size of his operation, he said that he would be unable to donate to food pantries, but he did share an interesting opinion of donating produce. He argued that it does not make sense to donate many kinds of produce, especially the more obscure varieties, because people who visit the pantries do not know how to use it anyway. He also informed us that several of the vendors already do donate their leftovers to the Catholic Worker House. We were happy to hear that the food was not going to waste, but slightly discouraged because that meant that our initiative was possibly unnecessary at the farmer’s market.
After saying goodbye to the first vendor, we talked to members of a family farm that sells produce at the market. They were interested in our idea and though they are not currently donating their leftover produce (they use it for compost and such, so don’t worry it’s not going to waste!), they were interested in the possibility so they took our information and promised to talk it over with their family. After speaking with a third vendor, we got the impression that tax deductions are not major motivators for vendors when they are considering whether to donate their unsold produce, which surprised us slightly.
Overall, the day felt both productive and unproductive. We met many vendors and learned a lot about what vendors are currently doing with their unsold produce, but the fact that most of them were already donating what they can leaves little for us to do. Currently we are waiting to hear back from the one farm while reassessing the direction of our project. We will keep you up to date with any exciting news!