The Farm Market at Pierce College will be reopening April 1, providing fresh produce for Pierce and the local community every day.
The market, which has been closed since September, is stocked mostly with produce grown at Pierce; however, some items such as strawberries are imported from other local growers, according to market manager Linda Carberry.
Pierce was founded in 1947 as an agricultural college and currently dedicates 200 acres of its 426 total acreage to farm and agriculture projects, as stated on the Pierce Web site.
Located on the corner of Victory Boulevard and De Soto Avenue, the market primarily functions as a business, “though its purposes are many,” said Dennis Washburn, executive director of the Foundation for Pierce College.
This spring, there will be opportunities for field trips to the “Pizza Farm” for elementary school students, and family trips will be available on weekends, said Carberry.
“It’s a working demonstration that helps them see where the food they eat comes from,” Carberry said.
They see the corn, which is used in the oil; wheat, which is made into flour and tomatoes, which are made into the pizza sauce. The Farm Center hosts the Halloween Harvest Festival in fall and a Christmas tree lot in winter, in addition to housing the Farm Market.
As stated on the Web site for the Foundation for Pierce College, the Foundation aims to “develop resources and increase awareness to support students, educational programs and campus for the benefit of the community served by the college.”
The Foundation provides the funding for the market, including costs of labor, water, plants and transportation of goods. The proceeds go back to the Foundation, which funds many programs at Pierce.
The crops are grown at Pierce by workers who are hired by the Foundation. Although it is not part of a class, many students are employed as well as non-students.
Not to be forgotten, however, is the goal to educate, as well as entertain the community.
“Agri-tainment,” as Washburn calls it. The public can experience the Farm Center and people from the community can come together and enjoy themselves. To get involved, contact Carberry.
“It’s valuable to promote the study of agriculture,” said Washburn. “They will learn about the process of growing food, and help the Pierce campus.”