Work Learn Profile: Kate Dunne, Saturday Farmers’ Market Worker

Work Learn Profile: Kate Dunne, Saturday Farmers’ Market Worker

Kate Dunne

What did you work on in this role?

I was a Saturday Farmers’ Market Worker! During the fall and summer, I worked with the sales team on Wednesdays to restock produce at the bookstore stand, the Field team to harvest veggies on Fridays, and helped facilitate the multivendor market on Saturdays. Some of my duties on Saturday involved setting up tents and tables, running the info booth, and doing a sign run into Westbrook. In the off season, I analyzed data from the previous year’s markets and compiled it into charts and infographics.

What did you learn in this position?

Through this position I learned so much! During the weeks, I had the opportunity to work with the staff that keep different facets of the farm running. On Wednesdays, I gained a broad understanding of the many varieties of produce we offered in addition to marketing and communication skills. Fridays allowed me to interact with the field team and observe how to efficiently operate a working farm. Saturdays taught me interpersonal skills as I fostered connections with vendors to better understand their positions in the food system. Lifting tents, tables, and crates of veggies every week I also became physically much stronger.

Why does this work matter?

Saturday Market Workers serve as the link between the public, vendors, and farm staff. We work closely with all three, making connections and learning about the struggles each group faces. This allows the UBC farm to operate as a strong community, supporting new vendors by sharing knowledge, and improving sustainable small scale food systems for everyone.

What would you tell a new student taking on this role? Or what do you wish you had known?

Don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people! Everyone on the farm is super knowledgeable and friendly. The best way to learn things is to chat with one of our amazing farm staff or practicum students! If there’s something you wanted to try or learn, just ask, even if it doesn’t relate to your position.

What should people know about the UBC Farm that they probably don’t know?

How much goes on in such a small space! Not only are we a working farm with market, wholesale, and CSA programs, but there are also many research, educational, and community programs operating out of the unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territory the farm occupies. The practicum program, children’s program, and Mayan garden are only a few of many!

What’s your favourite thing to do at the UBC Farm?

My favourite thing to do is participate in the Friday harvests! I love getting my hands dirty and helping the field staff harvest the produce of the week. While harvesting it is always great to chat(and laugh) with the staff and practicum students. Rain or shine, its amazing to come home at the end of the day feeling tired after a good days work. If you’re lucky, you might even get to start the morning with a team stretch led by field leads!

What other roles have you held at CSFS at the UBC Farm?

This was my first time helping out at the farm, but I will be sure to be back again!