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Farmer’s Market Brings Local Growers to Campus


On Thursday, Aug. 24, the first of three farmer’s markets took place on campus. A national grant with the Farmer’s Market Coalition and USDA allowed for Virginia State University to be one of three HBCUs to pilot the farmer’s market, but with real farmers.

Dr. Theresa Nartea, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, explained the role of the Cooperative Extension.

“Well, the Cooperative Extension is actually a statewide organization. It’s the partnership between Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. We are the land-grant college of Virginia,” Nartea said. “We actually go out and we answer real questions of the community.”

In addition to the sale of goods, the farmer’s market is also providing info for research.

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“We’re assisting the USDA to collect data and they will analyze this. And this will serve as a model for other ones who want to do a market like this,” Nartea said.

Students are benefitting from not only the vegetables but also the experience.

“It’s also an opportunity for the students to come and volunteer. They actually help the farmers to load and unload, and set up their displays,” Nartea said.

Farmer Carolyn Cooper Wright, from Sussex County, is the owner of Cooper Farms. She is a small farmer from Sussex County and is excited about this event.

“We worked with Virginia State in the small farm outreach program as Cooper Farms years ago. We learned so much. That’s really what gave us the knowledge to get back into growing and things like that,” Wright said. “I think this is a beautiful thing that they’re doing. I can’t say that I vision anything else that they should bring back because this is wonderful. This is wonderful.”

The next farmer’s market is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Sept. 21 at the VSU Douglas Wilder Building Parking Lot #28.

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