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Vital CxNs Partner Spotlight: Vickey Siggers

Published on February 2024,

written by Adede Appah-Sampong, VC Health Equity Scholar at Vital CxNs.

Vickey Siggers, drawn by the invitation of a neighbor, embarked on a remarkable journey with the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (MFFC) 17 years ago. Founded by Vivien Morris, MFCC is a collaborative organization that seeks to enhance the health and well-being of Mattapan residents by improving their food and physical activity environments. Vickey's motivation to dive headfirst into the Coalition was driven by an awareness of disparities within her community and a desire to  "give people back their own power to know that they deserve better."

As the Food Access Manager, Vickey runs the Mattapan Square Farmers Market. On the corner of Cummins Highway and Fairway, a mere parking lot is transformed into a vibrant space offering locally grown, affordable food every summer in Boston. In addressing the complexity of food insecurity, Vickey highlights the challenges of stretching limited resources. Her one-on-one conversations with residents reveal the everyday struggles they face in putting food on the table and highlight the need for spaces like the Mattapan Square Farmers Market to serve as a resource for residents to purchase healthy foods in their neighborhood.

Over time, however, the Market has evolved into something more profound. As Vickey notes, the market is “the meeting place.” It becomes a hub of services where representatives from local organizations are present to assist farmers market attendees with crucial tasks like filling out SNAP and HIP applications. Vickey highlights the power in using the Market as the meeting ground to share essential information community members otherwise would not have access to. 

Beyond her role in the Market, Vickey's engagement with the community takes various forms. She can be found providing vital support for social needs such as securing housing, winter coats, formula, or breastfeeding support for community members through the Family Engagement Network. Vickey is also a long-standing member of one of our food access initiatives, the Neighborhood Food Action Collaborative (NFAC) which brings together cross-sector partners to create solutions for a more accessible and equitable food ecosystem in Boston. When talking about NFAC, Vickey details how impactful it has been to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals who are working toward food justice:

“We’re sharing information, sharing our struggles, sharing our frustrations, and knowing that we’re not alone in the work that we’re doing.”

In every position Vickey holds, Vickey underscores the importance of actively listening to the communities she serves. For example, when two young girls expressed a desire to engage in arts and crafts while their mother hosted a table at the Market,  Vickey and her team created a Kids Corner where children can craft, play games, and unwind. Similarly, when an observant librarian recognized the need to offer meals to children spending extended hours at the library, the MFFC team found the solution in establishing Summer Eats locations in Mattapan.For Vickey, it's not just a job—the need to uplift others is embedded in her. The crux of her work, in Vickey's view, lies in educating community members of the tools to champion their own causes. While she is constantly working to make sure that her community has access to the resources they need, she also hopes “that people are learning how to advocate for themselves.” She urges residents to attend meetings such as for Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council, and Union Capital Boston to find their voice and actively contribute to shaping their neighborhoods.

The Mattapan Square Farmers Market will return in Summer 2024.

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