This week, two paid positions for students at the Georgetown University Farmers’ Market opened, offering the opportunity to work with popular vendors, Vera’s Bakery and MsCurry.
According to an email sent out by volunteer coordinator Emeline Kong (COL ’17), hired students would receive $9.50 or $15 an hour respectively per vendor, working as a cashier and in operations.
Vera’s Bakery sells Latin American specialties and pastries, while MsCurry sells home cooked Indian food.
According to GUFM Administrative Director Lexi Cotcamp (MSB ’15), the positions are financially sponsored by the vendors who needed additional help and not by GUFM, which manages the market in partnership with the Georgetown University Student Association.
“We typically receive our funds through vendors who pay a fee to come and we are also working in coordination with the Georgetown University Student Association executive to cover different fees that can be part of the GUSA executive partnership,” Cotcamp said. “Funds are used for different logistical operations of the farmers market, including most probably parking because the
Office of Transportation requires parking fees these days.”
Cotcamp also pointed out that most of the students involved with the farmers market hold volunteer positions, although duties extended beyond working at the market on Wednesdays.
“Students typically participate in a variety of fashions,” Cotcamp said. “It’s not just volunteering at the market. In the past we have had different volunteer events, including local food meetings and speaker events that we have organized as well.”
Elizabeth Chabra, MsCurry’s cook, explained that the Indian food stand looked to hire Georgetown students to facilitate better communication with student customers, more efficient service and an easier commute for those working the stands.
“They speak the language of students. We needed a face for the front,” Chabra said. “And we are very busy because we are providing fresh food and I need to keep an eye on new food that’s being cooked, like rice and stuff, which we ran out a lot of these days. So I figured I just needed someone who lived close by. I could hire someone from Maryland, but the commute is hard and the parking is terrible.”
Mary Mulcahy (COL ’18), who frequents the farmers market, did not see long wait times as a deterrent, but appreciates the benefits of hiring students to work with popular vendors.
“I know there is usually a bit of a wait to buy food at the farmers market. I haven’t minded it thus far,” Mulcahy said. “But I guess if hiring students benefits both the students and the vendors then it would be a good thing.”
Steffany Arzate (SFS ’15), the new hire for MsCurry, started her first day of work this Wednesday in cashier and operations. She applied for the position because of her prior experience working with Indian food.
“I studied abroad in India so it’s been really exciting to get back and help prepare Indian food again,” Arzate said.
Working at MsCurry also provided Arzate with an employment opportunity that she might not otherwise have had.
“The first couple of years I had work-study so it was a lot easier for me to find a job,” Arzate said. “And this year, because my financial aid changed, I don’t have work study so it’s a little bit harder to find a job on campus. So I think in that sense, the job has really provided other students with employment opportunities as well.”
Cotcamp is excited to see the trend of students getting more involved in the market, both in volunteering and employment capacities.
“At its core, the farmers market is about students. We’ve always tried to involve students, whether that’s participating in a special event like Top Chef or volunteering at the market,” Cotcamp said. “And in this spirit, we hope to continue getting students involved in the local movement.”