Pop Up Produce 'pops up' at 7th Street Public Market
This past weekend we had the opportunity to be a pop up vendor inside the bustling 7th Street Public Market in Uptown Charlotte. The initial idea stemmed from last fall when Pop Up Produce was an outdoor vendor at the Market’s Harvestfest. We were able to engage the public and share our story for others to give back to our community through our buy one, donate one program. The concept resonated really well with market patrons; people loved the idea of growing food and helping a family in a food desert learn how to do the same. After discussions with the Market’s Executive Director, Chris Clouden, about other possible collaborations, Pop Up Produce was invited back in the spring to set up a pop up shop inside the market.
Our setup was next to Viva Raw, which I thought was the perfect complement with their healthy and delicious juices, and right near Not Just Coffee, which provided ideal visibility for the crowded coffee spot. The market traffic ebbed and flowed as patrons stopped to sip and shop, gather with friends around the sought after tables and share a meal. Many were curious in regards to our pop up table, staged with colorful imagery of gardens and children, and of course our Fresh Start Kits.
Every person our team spoke with provided us an opportunity to connect and discover, learn and grow through finding similar beliefs and experiences. We’re always grateful meeting new people and sharing our story through community outreach events where we can engage the public directly. It’s even more humbling and meaningful when someone approaches our table and shares how they found out about Pop Up Produce, not because of us, but through another channel. On Saturday, a family stopped by our table and began telling our team how they read about the work Pop Up Produce is doing through their student’s school newsletter. Immediately, I knew which school their daughter attends. I recently gave a presentation to students at The British International School of Charlotte to inspire their student-led projects to help end hunger in Charlotte. You can read about the presentation in our recent blog. It was a beautiful serendipitous moment to meet this student’s parents, as I’m going back this Tuesday (tomorrow) to hear how the students are progressing their projects. I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with! It’s so wonderful witnessing how the ripple effect of that classroom presentation resonated with the parents, and then to be given the opportunity to meet the parents at the market! On Sunday a mother, daughter and friend stopped by our table and stated they had learned about the work we’re doing in our community through the daughter’s school, not too far away from the Market. Ironically, the daughter’s school isn’t one we’re currently working with, but they had learned about what we’re doing to help families in food deserts through another school. It seems that sometimes word of mouth really is the best way to share a story.
Several people we met were from out of town and really loved the concept of what Pop Up Produce is doing, but weren’t able to purchase Fresh Start Kits due to lack of space in their suitcase. Our team was able to share with them how they are now able to purchase Fresh Start Kits on Amazon and get free shipping if they’re a Prime member. Well, that helped open a lot more channels! It’s moments like these as I stand there telling someone new about our story when the realization hits me how much Pop Up Produce has accomplished in such a short period of time, and how much more work we’ve set out to achieve in our strategy moving forward. None of what we do is possible without the support of our community. We see this through our partners, our volunteers, and our Kit owners. Every one of us plays a part in bringing in our community together. This compassionate connection and willingness to change our community for the better is what motivates Pop Up Produce every day.
We are grateful for 7th Street Public Market’s willingness to have us be a pop up vendor. If you missed us this past weekend, be sure to stop by and say hi the weekend of March 25th and 26th. We’ll be set up from 10 am to 3 pm both days, sharing our story and selling Fresh Start Kits!