Getting started in Boston Public Market

I will spend the most of my summer interning in Boston Public Market, Boston, MA. Boston Public Market (BPM) is a year-round, indoor market featuring locally sourced, seasonal food brought by and from the diverse vendors from New England area. As a HSSP major, I am very interested in learning about the agricultural sustainability. The philosophy of BPM seems to address sustainability a lot: consuming locally sourced agricultural product reduce both the transportation cost and the waste release. Serving only seasonal food items also reduces energy used to preserve food, as well as transportation cost. However, as good as it sounds, I wonder if it could only be one of a kind, or this operating model can be further promoted. Working here will enable me to get in touch with more vendors, and therefore gain a deeper understand the philosophy of how each vendor works individually to make the market functions as a whole.

This summer, I will work alternating between the office, in the Market, and Dewey Square Farmers Market. I was very excited before starting interning. I envision this internship to be very busy and productive: help setting up farmer’s market, assisting events going on in the market, working closely with supervisor with project after project, etc.

However, little progress was made the first two weeks into this internship. All I had been doing is organizing paperwork, sitting at info desk pointing out the location of bathrooms, and running around for unimportant chores. I comforted myself that it was just the beginning of internship, and the busy summer season hadn’t started. It was not until I got a project related to HIP (Health incentive program) when I develop a feeling of where this internship can go. HIP is a Massachusetts State health program for low-income people, or EBT card holders. This program matches every dollar spent on fruit and vegetable purchase using EBT card, however, only for fresh produce and no added preservative, salt canned or dried fruits and vegetables. In other word, this program further encourages low-income family to purchase more nutritious foods for health needs. The program enacted on June 1st, and replaced Boston Bounty Bucks program, which BPM matched a purchase up to $20 for EBT card holders. While printing out information package for each SNAP vendors, I got the chance to read through the info sheet. This switch made me both excited and concerned. I then offered to summarize a FAQ for volunteers to read and understand the program. It’s only have been a few days since the program started. I had heard a few words about the carrying out of the program among the vendors without actually seeing it happen. With a mixture of concerned and exciting feeling, I look forward to seeing how this program will turn out.

As I dig deeper into this internship and the office gets busier, I gradually realize that I need to actively seize each opportunity. Each project can be more than a plain project if I see the its potential and actively follow up with what is needed. How much I can get out of an internship totally depends on me: how much effort I put into it, how much thought I give, how I ask questions, etc. Through assisting HIP, I started to get a hint of the role of BPM in social justice and conserving of sustainability.

Yuchen He-17′