U student farm continues its produce market into the fall

Cornercopia took part in the summer farmer’s market on campus, which ended Aug. 24.

by Emily Kaiser

As students, staff and faculty walked along Church Street Mall on Aug. 30, many stopped to look at the selection of organic produce for sale at the farmer’s market.

While the University’s summer farmer’s market ended Aug. 24, the student organic farm Cornercopia will continue to sell its produce every Tuesday afternoon through September. The students have a 1-acre plot on the St. Paul campus where the food is grown.

Because of class conflicts, the student farm moved its market to Tuesdays, said Courtney Tchida, adviser to the farm.

Continuing the market into fall semester will give more students the opportunity to find fresh produce on campus, Tchida said.

“We don’t have grocery stores on campus, and we are giving students access to come see where their food comes from,” she said.

Throughout the next month, the market will offer customers a variety of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, squash, melons and a freshly made salad containing edible flowers, Tchida said.

As of Aug. 30, the farm had earned $5,000 from its sales, which qualifies it for organic certification, she said.

This allows the farm to label its food as U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic, farm manager Jared Ashling said.

With students returning to campus for class, the market’s sales definitely will pick up, Ashling said.

“We figure between faculty and the additional students, we will do pretty well,” Tchida said.

Linda Ellinger, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education, said she attended the farmer’s market every week during the summer and plans to continue to buy through September.

“I go to other farmer’s markets, but this is nice because I don’t have to wait until the weekend to do my shopping,” she said.

The prices are comparable to other organic farmer’s markets, and is a great way to support students, Ellinger said.

The farmer’s market began earlier this summer with vendors lining Church Street Southeast and started because of faculty and staff interesta in a campus market, said Ruth Rounds, an analyst in the Office of Human Resources.

Due to fire code problems on Church Street Southeast, this summer was the University’s testing ground for the success of a campus market.

“With the increased traffic in the fall, we were concerned it wouldn’t be safe,” she said.

The summer farmer’s market was a great success, Rounds said.

“The vendors were very satisfied,” she said. “Faculty and students were thrilled about the positive culture it created on campus.”

A farmer’s market next summer has not been discussed, but there is a lot of interest in it, Rounds said.

“The farmer’s market brings a lot of community to the University,” she said. “We all want to live and eat healthy, so this is a really positive thing.”

The students involved in the farmer’s market are excited to introduce their farm to students who may be interested in participating, Ashling said.

“We have students involved from all programs that see us in the field and love the opportunity to get out into the sun and get some experience with organic growing,” he said.