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Bethlehem, Pa., August 28, 2014—Moravian College will host a new Farm Fresh Market every Friday during the academic semester, providing campus and community members access to fresh, largely organic, produce and healthy food choices. The Moravian College Farm Fresh Market, which will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex (PPHAC) patio on the College’s Main Street Campus, will kick off its grand opening with an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting by President Bryon L. Grigsby ’90.
Sandra Aguilar, assistant professor of history and co-organizer of the Farm Fresh Market, envisions the market being more than just a produce stand, but an educational experience for students, faculty and staff, as well as the general community.
“I see the market being a warm and welcoming place where people can find fresh produce and delicious food and, at the same time, a place where you can learn about the environment, about student life and about organizations working on topics like sustainability,” said Aguilar. “This will be a little different from a traditional farmers market because we are also going to focus on education and engaging students, who are the future consumers of fresh, organic and local produce.”
Aguilar, along with Daniel Leiber, SODEXO’s on-campus sustainability chef, and Sabrina Terrizzi, assistant professor of economics and business, have spearheaded the Farm Fresh Market initiative. In addition to his culinary background, Leiber offered his expertise in farming. He and his family run a small farm, complete with 40 chickens, 10 hogs and three goats, and produce much of what he consumes.
Likewise, Aguilar has a considerable background in food and eating habits. In fact, the historian’s field of research is food, specifically food consumed in the middle of the 20th century in Mexico.
Since Aguilar and Leiber’s initial conversation about the market last spring, the duo have focused on involving the campus community, not only as consumers, but partners in the Farm Fresh Market. “The idea has always been to involve the faculty and students through their academic curriculum,” Aguilar said, noting the importance of understanding agriculture, sustainability and healthy living.
“I am trying to engage faculty in thinking about ways to work with their students and use the market as an experience for them to learn outside the classroom,” she explained.
One student, Michele Inamagua ’15, has already played a large role organizing the market. A management major with a concentration in marketing, Inamagua served as an intern this summer with Leiber, creating a 32-page business plan for the Farm Fresh Market. During the two-month internship, she visited local farmer’s markets, interviewed farmers, and developed a SWOT analysis, listing the market’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
“I found out there is a raising popularity of farmers markets because people are seeking fresher produce,” Inamagua said. “People are becoming more aware of what they are eating.” From her analysis, she also determined that college campuses often have a greater desire for fresh produce and a better understanding of its benefits.
In addition to campus members, market visitors will also have a chance to be educated on sustainable agriculture through “Food Talks” lectures with local farmers the first Friday of each month. Leiber will also lead cooking demos using local ingredients. Demos will include recipe cards with the names of the farms used. In addition to providing whole produce, there will be prepared food items and convenience items, such as diced butternut squash and complete ingredient soup packages.
The market’s produce will be provided by Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, based in Lancaster. While not technically local produce to the Lehigh Valley, Leiber pointed out that approximately 90% of their food is organic, and “Lancaster is better than California, Texas or Florida.”
Leiber aspires to make the market easily visible to the community, inviting several on-campus and Bethlehem organizations to perform and present, including the Moravian College cheerleaders, marching band and theatre department, as well as the Bethlehem Mounted Patrol.
A portion of the proceeds from the market will fund a student-run educational project geared toward sustainability, environmental and current health issues. Project applications will be submitted during the fall semester, with a winner being named at the beginning of the spring semester.
There is a real momentum on campus for a market such as this, Leiber explained, noting the success of SODEXO’s sustainable table in the College’s dining room. This live station focuses on serving local food, with all items made from scratch.
“I have a passion for this, and bringing real food to as many people as I can is what I want to do,” Leiber said. “The momentum is building, and more people are aware of the local food movement. More people are concerned about what we are putting in our bodies. It just makes sense for Moravian College to have a market of its own.”
“Everything has some type of connection to food,” Aguilar said. “And we hope this market reinforces the link between the College and the community.”
Students will be able to use Moravian Dining Dollars M-Flex, and/or cash to purchase from the market. It is cash only to the community.
Moravian College is a private coeducational liberal arts college, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, that is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, Moravian is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college and the first to educate women. The College emphasizes the deliberate integration of a broad-based liberal arts curriculum with hands-on learning experiences to prepare its 1,600 students, not just for jobs, but for successful careers. Moravian College excels at transforming good students into highly competent graduates who are ready to enter the workplace with confidence or shine in graduate school. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.