September 25, 2014 : By Drew Menard
This fall, Liberty University students and Lynchburg residents will need to walk no farther than the Doc’s parking lot to shop for the best locally grown produce.
The Liberty Farmer’s Market is now open every Thursday from 3:30-6 p.m. through Nov. 13, selling produce from local farmers, community vendors, and Liberty’s own Morris Campus Garden, which donates food harvested from Liberty grounds with Sodexo for enjoyment at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall.
| President Jerry Falwell speaks with a local vendor at the farmer's market on Sept. 18.
“Liberty University is committed to the biblical principles of stewardship and maintaining healthy living in a God-honoring way,” said Anthony Delligatti, district manager for Sodexo. “By offering a market with local farmers and artisans, it supports and strengthens the Lynchburg economy and introduces students to the many things the area offers including locally grown and made items.”
The Campus Garden is selling its own produce, offering items such as all-natural peppers, sweet potatoes, fresh salad greens, a variety of tomato breeds, and convenient salsa ingredient baskets.
Campus Garden manager Alicia Cripe (’09) is excited to see the market help promote the local economy and wellness of mind, body, and soul among Liberty students.
“The motive for having a farmer’s market on campus is to promote local farms with nutritious food and to connect students to our local economy. This market will also provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn how their food is grown and cared for by building relationships with local farmers,” Cripe said.
Both the farmer’s market and the Campus Garden invested not only in the health of students, but also in the Lynchburg community. The Campus Garden teaches student agricultural principles and offers volunteer opportunities. In addition, a portion of the garden’s yields is donated to Lynchburg Grows to help make reduced-price food available in the area’s lower-income neighborhoods.
“Bringing the market to campus will allow an opportunity for students who are not connected to the surrounding markets in Lynchburg, Forest, and Bedford to access local, nutritious food,” Cripe said. “The market is a natural and important step in creating a healthier Liberty University.”
Including the Campus Garden, the market features 30 nearby vendors such as Laura’s Little House, Lorraine Bakery, Miss Amanda’s, Grains of Sense, Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats, Cake and Fudge by Kondo, and Cane Creek County.
The Liberty Farmer’s Market is part of a long line of improvements to the university’s health and wellness initiatives, including a massive expansion of the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center, multiple additions to campus dining options, and a number of successful exercise challenges to students and employees.