“Faces of food” is a chance to get to know people all across the food industry.
Whether it’s farmers, chefs, food photographers, grocers, dishwashers or others, every role is important. In light of COVID-19, it’s more vital than ever to make these local connections between who makes our food and who works to provide us access.
“Local food and gratitude.” This was how Lindsay Clowes, manager of the WFM2Go program, signed off our email correspondence. It has stuck in my mind ever since as the most perfectly succinct description of everything she radiates.
WFM2Go is the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s online ordering and weekly delivery service. In operation since 2017, the program was born out of a desire to create a more connected and sustainable food community and to allow for vendors' growth. They have pickup hubs from Halifax Regional Municipality to Kings County. Clowes beams with support for local farmers, effuses her gratitude for the local producers and volunteers that make WFM2Go successful.
In recent weeks, their operation has scaled upmore than four-fold, nearly overnight. This would be daunting for any business, let alone doing it while strictly adhering to new social distancing directives. But they’ve done it, incredibly well, and the growth shows no signs of slowing.
Okay friends, get ready .... 220 orders out the door today! 🌞 Three vehicles, four volunteers, and four staff plus all our vendors, delivery team, and customers to make it happen! ⠀ ⠀ Here’s how it went down:⠀ ⠀ Tuesday morning all of our bins were setup and vendors with shelf stable items were invited to come in and pack their items two at a time. We had the orders spread way apart so we could practice social distancing while packing. ⠀ ⠀ Today, got to the market at 6:30am to start packing (we usually start at 10am - ah, the good ol’ days). ⠀ ⠀ In order to keep our numbers at five people or less, we had the vendors scheduled at specific times to come in, as to not overlap. We also couldn’t have the same amount of volunteers we usually have (we miss you!!). We packed from 630am until the vans (that’s right, three vehicles) were full at 1230. We planned to be on the road at 12, so this is what got us a little bit behind. We are learning 😊⠀ ⠀ At the hubs we had orders handed out spread apart to keep with social distancing. At the Market we handed out around 90 orders and there was a huge line of people spread two meters apart, was really quite neat to witness! ⠀ ⠀ We did a bit of last minute manoeuvring to speed up the deliveries as much as we could, so thank you for your patience with that!⠀ ⠀ Overall I am completely impressed with our team! Today we fed 220 families while supporting 35 local farms & businesses. We did it safely and efficiently, and we learned a lot. ⠀ ⠀ And Saturday, we will be ready to do it again! ✨ ⠀ ⠀ Thank you all who ordered, sent kind words, helped out, talked about us with your friends, sent positive vibes and so on! ⠀ ⠀ We’re living in a weird time, but we’ll get through it and eat good food while we do! ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀
“As it turns out, (WFM2Go) is also a resource and even a lifeline, in the face of a pandemic for both farmers/producers and customers,” she says.
Clowes is a galvanizing force and powerful sunbeam in human form: enthusiastic, generous with her energy and meticulously driven from a deep sense of purpose and love for the local community. In her own words, here’s a chance to get to know this multi-passionate, local food enthusiast a little better.
1. Introduce yourself!
Hello! My name is Lindsay Clowes, I am the WFM2Go manager at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. Three things about me:
- I also help run an organization called FOUND Forgotten Food that helps reduce food waste by organizing gleaning of farms after harvest and donating the food to food banks and community groups. To date, we have donated more than 35,000 pounds of food.
- I have six chickens: Mr. Kernel, Star, Ghost, Nugget, Snow and Hope Jr.
- I have always been a crafty person. I actually used to have my own little table beside my grandmothers at the St. Andrews Farmers’ Market, so it’s only fitting that I now have a career at a farmers’ market.
2. What might a regular day at work look like for you?
A regular day, you must mean pre COVID-19 then! Each day is a little different for me, but ranges from answering emails, social media, to packing orders, cleaning bins. I like to joke that I do the same thing every week, but every week it’s different.
3. How has COVID-19 impacted your work? How are you meeting those challenges?
Since COVID-19, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market has had to close its doors to the public. This means many of our vendors are relying on WFM2Go to support their business. Before COVID-19, WFM2Go was averaging 58 orders a week during the last 12 months.
On March 18, we had 139 orders and the week of March 25th delivery we had 222 orders. WFM2Go will start delivering twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) to be able to better support our vendors and customers to access local food.
It’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to keep everything going, but also to ramp it up. We have an amazing team of staff and vendors who have made it possible. I even have a team of vendors helping add new vendors who want to join WFM2Go to the system. It really has been a group effort all around!
Just finished packing 118 orders for today’s delivery! They will be heading to Dartmouth @brightwoodbeer, Halifax @foxhillmarket, and Bedford @mabatahfx as well as for pickup at the @wolfvillefarmersmarket 🚛 Finished up early ✨ I guess the new processes we put in place to be a bit speedier are working!⠀ ⠀ While we had some other wonderful people help, here’s our staff team taking a group photo social distance style! ⠀ ⠀ Hope you all enjoy your orders today, and don’t forget you can place an order for Wednesday until 7pm Monday. ⠀ ⠀ Ordering for Saturday will open at 9pm Monday! ⠀ ⠀ 🥕🌽🍅🥬🧅🥔
4. What feels most meaningful and powerful to you about your work?
We had our first WFM2Go delivery on July 5, 2017. This was after years of planning by market staff and vendors, way before I was hired at the market. It was created because there was a need to build a better local food distribution model. A system that could grow with the farmers/producers, instead of one they had to grow themselves into, with a lot of risk.
WFM2Go is a fair and sustainable model for small scale farmers/producers. But as it turns out, it’s also a resource, and even a lifeline, in the face of a pandemic for both farmers/producers and customers.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about ways to explain to people the importance of food security and how that links to supporting your local farmers. I think today, more than ever, we see that link and the importance of buying local. It’s our farmers who fed us before, and our farmers who will continue to feed us now.
5. What's something that you wish others knew about the kind of work that you do?
I wish that people knew that even ordering just once from us or buying from a local farmer/producer makes you a part of a bigger picture. When you support local you are contributing to a better food system, one that supports the land, contributes to the local economy, and has a greater impact. I wish people knew that we considered them a part of this big team working together to better the sustainability and food security in our area.
Bins, bins, and more bins! You guys rock! ⠀ ⠀ On Tuesdays and Fridays we set up for @wfm2go here at the Market and on Wednesdays and Saturdays we are here at 6:30am starting to pack orders to make sure they get out the door in time to get to the different hubs in different communities. ⠀ ⠀ We sure do miss market mornings and can't wait until we can all be under one roof again enjoying fresh made meals, music, and socializing ☕⠀ ⠀ Until then support your farmers and small business owners by reaching out and contacting them directly (contact info can be found on our website)! ⠀ ⠀ See you all soon 🌼 ⠀ ⠀ #letsgrowlocal #farmersmarket #supportlocal #localisbetter #NovaScotia #NSfarmers #buylocal #wolfvillefarmersmarket #healthyeats #localfood #farmfreshns #markethaul #doitinwolfville #wolfvillens #community #annapolisvalley #annapolisvalleymarkets⠀
6. Anything else you’d love to share?
The outpouring of support from our community has been amazing! We have had so many people offer to help, sent us kind messages, shared our story, and so on. Our team of staff, volunteers and vendors have been working incredibly hard, we have an amazing community behind us, and I can feel them cheering us on - which makes all the difference!
Jennifer Crawford is from Nova Scotia and is the reigning winner of MasterChef Canada. They're a food and feelings enthusiast and a patter of dogs. If you have suggestions of who you would like to see featured in Faces of Food, please email Jennifer Crawford .