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Campus hosts 100-mile farmers’ market

Photo Illustration by Rachel Torgerson. Local produce gets to the root of what sustainability is about. All of the produce for this year's Thanksgiving farmers' market came from within a 100-mile radius.

Concordia College hosted a wide array of local goods and produce on Thursday, Nov. 17 as thethird annual 100 Mile Farmers’ Market took place in the Centrum from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The market hosted organic farmers within a 100-mile radius of the Fargo-Moorhead area. Along with fresh produce, a wide range of seasonal food was available. The list of food included organic honey, homemade chips and crackers, local apples and a sign-up sheet for free-range turkeys. There was also an opportunity to grind fresh grain to make pancake mix.

Although the 100-Mile Farmers’ Market may appear to be a collaboration of several different independent  vendors, the event is actually a cumulative project, part of the Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, put on by the Concordia garden interns and students in a capstone course taught by assistant professor Gretchen Harvey, who teaches in the history department.

Besides providing the apples, which they handpicked at a local, organic farm, the garden interns were involved in networking with the vendors and local farmers which all helped in making the 100-Mile Farmers’ Market possible. This last summer, junior Matt Barret and senior Jennifer Battcher were the two students chosen for the internship. They were hired in May and worked throughout the summer and into the fall on Concordia’s garden plot, which is located near the soccer fields.  For them, this event was another way to extend their learning experience.

Even though this experience isn’t directly related to Barrett’s major, which is English literature, he still gained a lot from his participation.

“It’s good to raise awareness about sustainable gardens,” Barrett said. “And it’s a good opportunity for me to network with people.”

Students in BSCI plan the event as one of their final projects for the class. A main aspect of the course is the importance of sustainability. Besides raising funds to support Concordia’s garden, the 100-Mile Farmers’ Market was another way students were able to raise awareness on how to increase sustainability in the community by buying organic, locally grown and produced products.

Harvey wanted to lead a project like this for the way it combines outreach and education.

“The larger goal is to teach the community about the importance of the organic culture and the joys of eating fresh produce and well-raised meat,” she said.

The event was a way to provide people in the community with resources for a more informed way of choosing the food they eat.

“You get the chance to meet a lot of local farmers and have the chance to shop for organic foods,” Battcher said.

Before the 100-Mile Farmers’ Market took place, Harvey stressed the significance of being aware of where people buy their food.

“I just want people to come out, even if they don’t want to buy anything, to see what’s what,”  Harvey said. “You need to know where your food comes from, and to see how that and the environment all comes together.”

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