Goodwin College Farmers’ Market – A Community Effort
EAST HARTFORD – Since its inception in July 2013, Goodwin’s Riverside Farmers’ Market has benefitted many in its mission to provide fresh produce to consumers in the East Hartford and Goodwin community.
As the Riverside Farmers’ Market comes to an end for the season, Goodwin College looks forward to growing and expanding in years to come. The market, which included multiple vendors selling fresh produce, herbs, cut flowers, sauces, and all natural shea butter products to the public, is a participant in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for WIC and SNAP recipients and senior citizens.
The Riverside Farmers’ Market, along with another Goodwin initiative, the Community Garden, has been instrumental in supporting the common cause of Goodwin’s Transitions Food Pantry. The pantry strives to remove hunger as a concern for Goodwin students by soliciting, collecting, and distributing food to those in need. A number of students find it difficult to meet their financial obligations and support a family while attending school.
“Goodwin’s Farmers’ Market is different from any other market because there is no fee for the vendors. We only ask that they donate to Goodwin’s Transitions Food Pantry,” Sandy Pearce, Goodwin College Webmaster, said.
Pearce has played a large part in organizing and maintaining the Community Garden and Riverside Farmers’ Market. Pearce brings the generous donations to the Food Bank and whatever is not needed at the time is shared with St. Rose’s Church in East Hartford.
Unity Farm, a participant in the market, donated a portion of their unsold vegetables to Transitions Food Bank. “I truly believe we should help people in need. I’d hope somebody would help me if I needed it,” said Kelly Jacobs, a member of Unity Farm.
George Duhart, also a participant in the market and owner of George Gee’s All Purpose BBQ sauce, donated a portion of his sauces to the pantry. “What you sow you shall reap. People who aren’t willing to give find themselves in a state of destitution because they want to hold on to everything,” Duhart stated.
“When you give back to the community, you are a part of a positive change. It connects you with those in need. You are a part of improving their quality of life and empowering them to believe in a better future. It’s heartwarming to see the domino effect that giving back has on people,” Pearce said.
Since July, the College has collected almost 140 pounds of food to be donated to those in need. “Consumers have said wonderful things about the market. It can be difficult for some to buy produce in grocery stores because of the expense and for those who use SNAP and WIC, it isn’t accepted. The coupons are specifically made for use at farmers’ markets,” Pearce said.
Fresh produce can be hard to come by. “I grew up on a farm and know how important it is to have fresh fruit and vegetables. We began the Community Garden in 2012, where our students, employees, and neighbors in East Hartford are able to grow and pick their own produce. A Farmers’ Market seemed to go hand-in-hand with the garden,” Pearce stated.
As a result of the success of the market, Goodwin will be hosting an indoor farmers’ market on Tuesday, November 26 in the Community Room and Lobby. There are 12 vendors booked for the Winter Farmers’ Market so far. There are farmers with a full range of Connecticut produce including fruits, vegetables, sprouts, and micro-greens; cheese; meats (bison, pork, beef); raw milk; eggs from pastured hens; maple syrup and honey products. The list will continue to grow as the market approaches. WIC and SNAP will be accepted.
Goodwin is determined to serve our non-traditional students in as many ways possible. The College is continuously making positives strides to better both the Goodwin and East Hartford community.
If you are interested in participating in Goodwin’s Farmers’ Market, please contact Sandy Pearce at SPearce@goodwin.edu.
By: Hannah Stacy