Friendly farmers, decent discounts
On a campus full of pre-packaged foods and meals to-go, finding quality organic food for an affordable price is almost impossible for college students.
But Calvert’s Gift Farm, a farmer’s market located in Sparks, Md., is collaborating with markets in the Towson area to bring fresh produce to students. Beckie Gurley, who runs the farm with her husband Jack Gurley, said she is looking forward to Towson students purchasing their crops, which they will offer at discount prices.
“The vendors get a lot of Towson students coming through there, and younger people are great to experiment with new food,” she said. “We want to offer them a 10 percent discount.”
Fresh markets offer an outlet for many Towson students who maintain an organic diet.
“I started eating organically a little more than two years ago and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” sophomore Alisa Sonsev said. “Organic and local food is expensive so it’d be great to have some healthy and affordable options.”
Director of the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at Towson University Jane Wolfson said she encourages Calvert’s Gift Farm’s business venture.
“I think knowing where your food comes from and knowing the process is very valuable,” she said. “There’s been a very big increase in concerns about it and interest in it than there was earlier, and I like encouraging that. It’s just my way of helping them reach out because I know they are interested in reaching students.”
Gurley said Calvert’s Gift Farm produces local and sustainable crops such as heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, garlic, sweet potatoes and an assortment of fruits.
Junior Emily Vitek said she will enjoy being able to find affordable organic food during the school year.
“I eat organic foods when I’m at home but not so much at school just because it’s not as readily available and it’s hard to afford while on campus,” Vitek said. “I would definitely check out a market in the area, especially if I knew what types of food they have and where they come from.”
Wolfson said she believes that the market’s presence will provide a gateway for students to become more conscious of their eating and living habits.
“One of the most important things that we can teach across the University is the importance of the decisions they make. What they do and what they don’t do really make a difference long-term,” she said.
Businesses will have the chance to spread the word about healthful food, Wolfson said.
“It might cost you a bit more to buy from an organic farmer, but not only are you getting something that you know is pesticide free, but you’re also helping that person to continue in business because you’re saying that what they’re doing is a good thing,” Wolfson said.
Kenilworth Farmer’s Market, which is within walking distance of the Colony at Kenilworth Apartments, is also part of the program and will provide discounts Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. from May through November, Gurley said.