I've been at the helm of this market for a little over six of its seven years, and it's really what catalyzed my move into the good food world. It was launched by a local food pioneer Emily Rankin (now the owner of Local Roots Farm to Restaurant Distribution & Store), and the central goal was to connect local residents with local food. We're 7 years in and doing just that! We get to work with some of the best farmers, ranchers, bakers, artisans, fishmongers, and artists every week, and it's been a constant learning experience. The market has its own website, where you can read vendor profiles, get directions, and learn more about our little community market.
Project Manager & Consultant
This was the first official project for Gather &. I served first as a consultant and later as project manager for this multi-use culinary space in Brunswick, Georgia. Owners Jovan Sage and Matthew Raiford are both rock stars in the Slow Food movement and combined a lot of features in one dynamic space. The Farmer & The Larder features a gorgeous little kitchen shop, stocked with farm-sourced provisions, cookware, garden supplies, and other beautiful things; a robust education program with classes on everything from knife skills to braising and tea-blending to fermenting; and a cozy restaurant space open for casual lunches, decadent brunches, family-style supper clubs and traditional dinner service. When they're not running their dreamy shop, Matthew and Jovan are part of the team running Gilliard Farms, the family's Certified Organic Centennial farm. This is, and likely always will be, one of my favorite projects I've ever been a part of.
Co-Founder & Managing Director
I helped conceptualize, build, and manage East End Market from the first brainstorm through its first year in business. Inspired by the growing food movement and frustrated with the gaps in the system, we created East End to open new doors for local entrepreneurs, grow the number of food businesses in the region, act as a hub for leaders in the movement, and create an interactive space for everyone to connect with food. In addition to housing several businesses, the market is also home to an urban farm, a commissary kitchen, and teaching/meeting space. I was particularly fond of the programming we developed there, from cooking and gardening classes to workshops on growing and marketing new food businesses. I got to use a lot of the skills I already had, as a market manager, event planner, program coordinator and office manager. During my time at East End, I also learned a lot about project management, construction, and starting new businesses.
Event Producer & Market Director
Before there was Gather &, there was A Local Folkus, and the Winter Park Harvest Festival was our signature event. This day-long festival brought together farmers, gardeners, chefs, artists, activists and eaters in a single location to celebrate the Fall harvest. Founded in 2010 by John Rife (owner of East End Market), the festival boasted a large producer-focused farmers' market, free cooking, gardening, and farming demos, tastings, live entertainment, and a Farm-to-Table dinner highlighting chef and farmer collaboration. This festival helped kickstart many great initiatives and partnership in the Central Florida good food movement.