The Online Beacon

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Harvesting Happiness: MCLA’s Farmers Market Cultivates Community Well-being with USDA Grant and Gift Card Extravaganza

Photo taken by Berkshire Farmer’s Markets (Facebook)

MCLA’s campus is about to get a whole lot tastier, thanks to the Farmers Market hosted by Berkshire Bounty and Berkshire Grown. And guess what? The USDA Regional Food Systems Partnership Grant is throwing some serious dough into this delicious endeavor.

Hold on to your grocery bags, because this isn’t your run-of-the-mill market. It’s a pilot program, and MCLA is just one of the three lucky locations to host it. From September 29th to November 14th, our campus will be transformed into a foodie paradise, inviting students, faculty, and staff to join in the gastronomic festivities.

But here’s the real juicy news: this Farmers Market isn’t just for the high rollers. We know college life can pinch your pockets, so the organizers have cooked up something special. If you’re counting your pennies and worried about the price tags, worry not! You can snag gift cards tailored for the market, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their financial situation, can savor the flavors of the Farmers Market.

Casey Young, our Food Security Coordinator, spilled the beans on this brilliant idea. “I wanted to do something to ease the food cost burden for students. Life during undergrad can be pricey, and my position, funded through ARPA and shared with Berkshire Community College, allowed me to allocate some funds for student gift cards. When the Farmers Market came up, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.”

For students on a shoestring budget, the prospect of scoring free produce at the Farmers Market is like hitting the jackpot. It’s not just about veggies; it’s about building a community that cares about your well-being. MCLA is showing its commitment to ensuring that every student, faculty, and staff member has access to nutritious options, no matter their financial standing.

Amoure Joseph ’24 thinks it’s an awesome opportunity for healthier eating. Cheyenne Laszio ’26 loves stress-free shopping thanks to the gift certificate program. Our Food Security Coordinator, Casey Young, is not just all about logistics; she’s a fan of Berkshire Mountain Bakery’s sourdough bread, proving that even coordinators have their guilty pleasures.

Speaking of Casey Young, she’s the go-to person for all things Farmers Market and gift certificates. The process is as smooth as butter, reflecting the organizers’ commitment to making this more than just an event; it’s a service tailored to the diverse needs of the MCLA community.

Casey shared, “We’ve helped students get access to local produce, meats, dairy, and grain items that are normally very expensive. The positive feedback from students warms my heart.”

And the students agree. The Farmers Market is getting a standing ovation, especially for those golden gift cards. It’s not just about food; it’s a celebration of MCLA’s dedication to the overall well-being of its students. So, mark your calendars, folks, because MCLA is not just growing minds, it’s growing veggies, too!

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