What. A. Finale.
I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing, intelligent and thoughtful group of food policy leaders for the past 4 years. These two days in NYC encompassed a whirlwind of final moments and moving goodbyes, sprinkled with being embarrassingly star-struck in front of my colleagues (and, you know, totally owning it).
The purpose of this trip was to visit the farmers’ markets we work with and host my final food policy council meeting. As part of my professional role, traveling to NYC (and statewide, really) has remained a constant and enlightening piece. I just love it. Working with NYS farmers’ markets is one of the few hats that I wear (soon to be wore) at my position, the others including coordinating the food policy council and managing farm to school projects and program development (more on my job can be found on my LinkedIn profile) But, enough about my position.
Day 1 started with a 6:55 AM a train ride from Albany to Penn Station, immediately followed by Starbucks and meeting with my NYC colleagues on 8th Ave. We visited our diverse markets, met in-person with the farmers we chat with on the phone and got down to business. Meeting with farmers and market managers continues to be an educational and humbling experience for me.
While at one of our markets, I spotted Adrien Grenier sifting through collard greens and getting ready to shoot a commercial related to healthy, local food access in low-income communities (!!!). Of course, my response was completely unprofessional and I carried on accordingly. Had I not recently binge-watched the entire series of Entourage this past year I probably would have been calmer. Maybe. OK, probably not. But, either way, there was a celebrity promoting something that I am incredibly passionate about at this farmers’ market, so I did what any overzealous nutrition and Entourage-lover did and took a picture with him.
With zucchini blossoms and garlic in hand, we moved on to meet with our next few markets and then went to dinner at a fabulous middle-eastern restaurant in Brooklyn.
The next day marked my final food policy council meeting. We had a fantastic guest speaker from NYU present his research on food store proximity and food buying behaviors in NYC communities, as well as speakers from other state, local and academic organizations.
At the end of the meeting, I was surprised with a leadership award from the Council and Commissioner. It is truly difficult to put into words how poignant an experience this was for me, but my gratitude extends for miles. My experiences with the Council have been invaluable. I will miss all of them very much but know that our paths will cross again in the future..