Influencing Sustainable Change at Farmers’ Markets

Author: Emily Abrusci, UNH Sustainability Fellow

Photo credit: Chris D’Amore

Hi! My name is Emily Abrusci and I am SEL’s UNH Sustainability Fellow* for the summer of 2023. You may have seen me around at the farmers’ markets. I’m a rising junior at the University of New Hampshire, studying Environmental Conservation and EcoGastronomy. In class, I learn a lot about the science behind sustainability but not as much about the community and cultural connections. That’s why I’m so happy to be working with Seacoast Eat Local, as they have such a large impact on the local community. 

As a part of my time with SEL, I’ll be doing market research in the realms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and community outreach. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, SEL has noticed a decrease in vendors applying to markets, and customers attending their Summer Farmers’ Markets. 

Change happens over time, but SEL would like to evolve to better serve more of the community and provide the best farmers’ markets possible. I’ll be conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups with community members, market goers, and even vendors to glean feedback on how we can improve the SEL markets overall. We hope to make our markets more accessible, more diverse, and more inclusive to all people of the community. Once I have collected feedback and data, I’ll formulate an analysis and suggestions based on all the community has told us. Moving forward, SEL will work to utilize these data and suggestions in their market management plans. By integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion, into their market model, SEL can sustainably adapt to meet the needs of the Seacoast community.

I’m very excited for this project and eager to learn from the individual members of the community. 

Photo credit: Chris D’Amore

As a recipient of our newsletter and a member of the community, I would love to hear feedback from you! You can contact me directly at [email protected], or you can click here to fill out our 2023 Summer Farmers’ Market Survey. 

Thank you, and I’ll see you at the farmers’ markets or out and about in the community! 

*What is the UNH Sustainability Fellowship?:

The Sustainability Fellowship pairs exceptional UNH undergraduate students and post-baccalaureates (grad students and recent grads) from UNH and universities across the United States with municipal, educational, corporate, and non-profit partners to work on transformative sustainability projects.”

Let Seacoast Eat Local know how you feel about our Summer Farmers’ Markets in Durham, Dover, Exeter and Portsmouth by clicking here!