While Keyes spoke, Connor Goodwin (he/him), 37, from “Berryland” brought Keyes and his wife coffee. The “Berryland” owners bring coffee every week to the GNV Market vendors. Bringing fellow vendors goods is part of “Berryland’s” community building initiative. “We want to generate goodwill within our peers and community,” Goodwin said.
“Berryland” sells homemade kombucha, as well as coffee and waffles. The business was a pandemic project that grew into a business to raise awareness for Grow Hub — an education program at Santa Fe for adults with disabilities to grow plants.
Thomas Maple (he/him), 43, the communications lead for Berryland, emphasized the business’ focus on community.
“The idea too is to get it going enough, get enough interest, get to markets enough to promote Grow Hub,” Maple said. “[We’re] looking to grow opportunities for Grow Hub staff to begin becoming employed while gathering skills, knowledge and abilities.”
As a pandemic project, Berryland also focuses on building the community through attending the markets. As their name gets out, “Berryland” hopes to bring more people to Grow Hub and give Grow Hub members a chance to sell their own goods with “Berryland.”
“This is bringing the community back out and building up the pieces that were lost since the pandemic,” Maple said.
A Belonging Space in the Marketplace
By Caroline Wheeler-Hollis
As the sun goes down on Gainesville each Thursday, Alachua County residents flock to the Gainesville market downtown. Across the street from Depot Park, at Heartwood Soundstage, is a local gem.
Attendees walk gravel paths lined with vendors selling plants, vegetables, empanadas, vegan cookies, CBD, jewelry, free books, and much more. Lights twinkle above a grassy plot filled with chairs for patrons to enjoy the musical artist of the week. The music ranges from indie to latin to the romantic swoon of “La vie en rose.”
The GNV Market occurs every Thursday from four to seven p.m. at 619 South Main St. Under new management that started in January, the market has expanded and has provided more opportunities for small businesses.
Justine Jimenez (she/her), 26, owns “Soft n Bold,” a candle and jewelry business. She runs “Soft n Bold” to save money for radiology classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. Since vending at the market in December of 2021, Jimenez noticed her Instagram following increase and an increase in Etsy views on her profile. Her favorite aspects of the market are the music and the affordability of vending.
“It’s easy for vendors to make back the money that they put into paying for their spot,” Jimenez said. As a result, small businesses are abundant at the GNV Market.
"Grow-N-Grace” owner Tim Keyes (he/him), 70, started vending at the GNV Market on their opening night at Heartwood in 2020. “Grown-N-Grace” is a small business that specializes in selling microgreens. Prior to selling microgreens, Keyes was a bookkeeper and a programmer. “Five years ago, I had a stroke, and it erased everything,” Keyes said. “I lost my business.”
Keyes started growing vegetables to have something to do after the stroke forced him to stop his bookkeeping business. In December 2019, Keyes found hydroponics.
Hydroponics are plants grown in a nutrient solution rather than soil. “It’s very nutritious,” Keyes said. “It has a high level of all the minerals in it.” Keyes sells the nutrient-filled hydroponics for people to eat. “I just enjoy doing that. I like helping people,” Keyes said.
“Grow-N-Grace” shows market attendees how good nutrition can taste by offering free samples of salad made with their hydroponics. Through this, “Grow-N-Grace” has attracted new customers. The “Grow-N-Grace” customer base is full of regulars. Keyes motioned to a cooler, revealing where he puts aside products for regular customers. He described a family that comes every week for a big bag of radishes.
“We always keep an extra radish here in case they show up,” he said.
** Disclaimer: The models in the video and any photos below are NOT the interviewees in the writing pieces **
Creating Community Through the Microbiome
By Andrea Tamayo
While brainstorming ways to allure people to a booth about microorganisms at the USA National Science and Engineering Festival in 2018, Ana Porras had the clever idea of crocheting tangible, friendly-faced microbes – to bring what’s out of sight to a life of new proportions. She and her colleagues were competing with flashy booths of well-known organizations such as National Geographic, NASA and the Discovery Channel for people’s attention, which meant that her booth had to be irresistible… irresistibly cute.
Since that day, Porras (she/her/hers) has brightened the timelines of hundreds with her adorable creations on Instagram and TikTok to spotlight microbes’ significance in our lives.
Porras is an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Upon finishing her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, she realized she was researching diseases more relevant to people in the Global North.
Porras, who grew up in Colombia and moved to the U.S. for her undergraduate degree, was interested in global health, but struggled to find the right postdoctoral experience.
After a long series of conversations, she eventually landed in a microbiology lab that shared her interest in global health.
"I wasn't set out to study microbiomes. It just happened, perchance." Porras said.
Today, her crocheted microbes are garnering the attention of hundreds online. After seeing the other volunteers at the USA National Science and Engineering Festival use the crocheted microbe models to teach specific concepts, Porras began to craft educational posts with the help of her brightly colored microbes as an attention-grabber.
But it's not clickbait.
Her knowledge, expertise and clear communication explain the links between the microbiome — the community of microbes in a particular environment — and a myriad of diseases and health applications. Using the hashtag #MicrobeMondays, Porras answers questions every week about these invisible creatures and the places they're found.
She uses one post to break down the scientific name of Vampirovibrio chlorellavorus — a vivid orange and fanged crocheted bacteria, whose name translates to vampire, comma-shaped, Chlorella-devouring bacterium. In another post, she explains the benefits of the beady-eyed, light pink Lactobacilli that reside in vaginal microbiomes. In another, she compares and clarifies the ways COVID-19 vaccines work.
She has received positive messages from countless strangers, friends, and colleagues who follow her. Parents have admitted that Porras ignites scientific conversations with their kids, and strangers have thanked her for explaining research on vaccinations – prompting them to receive their own.
"Those moments are where you're like, okay, I should keep doing it." Porras said.
Sharing her knowledge and research online has opened doors for collaboration with other science communicators – allowing her to forge meaningful connections, embrace diverse perspectives, and challenge her to make content that's more accessible and inclusive.
To do so, Porras extended #MicrobeMondays to reach Spanish-speaking communities through #MicroMartes, which means “Micro Tuesday”. She hosts #MicroMartes on her Instagram account purely dedicated to disseminating research and sharing her knowledge and life in Spanish. She hopes to dedicate more of her time and effort into this account to remove the language barrier between the science she shares and non-English speakers.
In 2020, Porras and science communicator Melissa Márquez, M.S., published an opinion piece on the need for multilingual science communication. The two had not met each other beforehand but Porras reached out to Márquez through a cold message via Instagram.
Frustrated by the lack of resources available in Spanish, their native tongue, they worked together to make a thorough list of recommendations to broaden access to scientific information and increase multilingualism in science communication. They outlined steps that journal publishers, media outlets, academic institutions and government agencies can take to improve the ways in which science is communicated around the world.
Porras recently celebrated the third anniversary of LatinXinBME, an organization she co-founded with her colleague Brian Aguado, Ph.D., which provides an online Biomedical Engineering community for professors, professionals, post-doctoral students and students who identify as Latino, Latina or Latinx.
Last year, the organization had its first virtual symposium.
“Hearing the comments from everyone being like, ‘I love seeing people who have an accent present.’” Porras said. “That day was pretty powerful.”
In the history of science, there are certain communities whose discoveries have been omitted due to English-language hegemony, gender and racial biases, or nontraditional methodologies that have been disregarded by other scholars — but passionate and inclusive scientists like Porras are restoring the fundamental right to curiosity and discovery to all — allowing everyone to understand the wonders of the microbiome and beyond.
“I know in science we talk all the time about being objective, but the process of doing science is done by people who have perspectives and who are not objective.” Porras said. “Culture colors everything we do.”
Photo Executive Director: Andrea Tamayo, Photo Directors: Luis Parera & Lavanya Durai, Photographers: Luis Parera & Lavanya Durai Photo Editors: Luis Parera & Lavanya Durai
Video Directors: Andrea Tamayo & Tatum Homer-Dibble, Video Executive Producer: Andrea Tamayo, Videographer: Tatum Homer-Dibble, Video Editor: Tatum Homer-Dibble
Visual Web Design Director: Andrea Tamayo
Sisters Megan Mayhut (she/her), 26, and Madeline Mayhut (she/her), 22, started their business, Disorderly Adventures, during the pandemic in 2021. They’ve sold homemade soy candles, macrame, and various other sustainable items at the GNV Market since January 2022.
Farmers markets have played a large part in the sisters' youth.
“Our mom took us to a farmers market every Saturday morning,” Madeline said. Since vending at the GNV Farmer’s Market, the sisters have started up the habit again. Megan said she even does most of her shopping at the farmer’s market now. The sisters believe farmers markets, particularly the GNV Market, are great community spaces.
“This creates such a good gathering place for friends to come together and experience live music, experience local artists, and redistribute the money they may have just spent at Publix or Winn-Dixie into a local producer,” Megan said. Vending and shopping at the market has reinstated the sisters’ beliefs about shopping locally. “We want to focus on building a circular economy,” Madeline said.
Through local markets, the sisters believe that vendors can impact the community by putting the money right back into it. “We want to come together to create a better community economy,” Madeline said.
Shopping locally not only impacts the community, but the vendors as well.
“We do a happy dance when you purchase from us, do you think Jeff Bezos does?”