Purdue Student Farm to launch Farm Share program

April 3, 2015  

Student Farm farmers market

Laura Johnson (left), a senior in agricultural engineering, and Rachel Beyer, Student Farm manager, sell produce from the Purdue Student Farm at the West Lafayette Farmers Market in fall 2014.

Beginning in June, the Purdue Student Farm’s Farm Share program will offer a new way for patrons to purchase its vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.

The Farm Share program is based on the community-supported agriculture model, which was initially developed in Japan in the 1970s. The CSA model spread across the United States in the 1990s as a way for customers to become more connected with where their food comes from. In addition, the CSA model provides local farms with more economic stability by customers giving an upfront investment.

To become a member of the Farm Share program at Purdue, customers will purchase a $250 produce credit, and they’ll have 10 weeks to spend the entire amount on seasonally available vegetables, herbs and flowers grown at the Student Farm. Members can spend as much or as little as they want each week until their credit is used up or the session expires.

The Farm Share program will take place over two 10-week sessions during 2015. Session I is from June 15 to Aug. 20, and Session II follows from Aug. 24 to Oct. 29.

Members will place their order online by noon Monday of each week during their selected session(s). Three locations will be used for pickup: 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center; 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Butcher Block, located in Smith Hall, Room 170; and 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays at the Student Farm.

Produce available with the Farm Share program is dependent on seasonal availability of the farm’s crops. In early summer, there will be vegetables such as salad and cooking greens, peas, broccoli, radishes, basil, beets and carrots. In full summer, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, zucchini, cucumbers and beans become available. During the fall, members can purchase sweet potatoes, potatoes, winter squash and onions.  In total, more than 47 different vegetables and herbs will be available for members to order over the course of the growing season.

The Student Farm was developed in 2010, and its first planting season was spring 2011. The five-acre farm, located at 1601 W. State St., is a student-run, experiential learning site for students of all disciplines.

“The students benefit by getting hands-on experience through applying the theory they learn in the classroom to an actual farm and an actual business,” says Rachel Beyer, the Student Farm manager. “All proceeds from the Farm Share program support the educational programming we offer based on our diverse, ecological, small farm model.”

Although the Farm Share program is the farm’s latest marketing venture, the Student Farm already sells its produce directly to consumers at local farmers markets.

The Student Farm can be found annually at two farmers markets from May to October. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at Cumberland Park, students will sell the farm’s produce at the West Lafayette Farmers Market. The Student Farm will also be at the Purdue Farmers Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays at Memorial Mall. Cash, credit and checks are all accepted.

For those interested in receiving a weekly email from the Student Farm about farmers market information and freshly available vegetables and flowers, subscribe here. For questions about the Farm Share program, contact student.farm@purdue.edu or visit www.purdue.edu/studentfarm.

Writer: Kourtney Freiburger, 49-62993, kfreibu@purdue.edu 

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