Purdue University's student farm is bringing fresh fruits and vegetables even closer to campus.
Launched in 2011, the 5-acre farm sells the student-grown food at farmers markets and to local businesses and dining halls. But a new program hopes to further connect the community to what it eats.
In June, the farm will launch a farm share program, modeled after community-supported agriculture initiatives taking place across the country.
Those who purchase a $250 credit receive fruits and vegetables grown at the farm for 10 weeks. In turn, the money supports the farm and the students working there.
"When people are purchasing their food, the money is going directly to support the education of young farmers at Purdue," farm manager Rachel Beyer said.
The program will offer two sessions ranging from June to August and from August to October, yielding a variety of different fruits and vegetables.
Because fresh, local food is hard to come by, convenience is key in getting the community involved, Beyer said. Through the student farm website, members can handpick each week's share based on what's available at that time of the season, spending as much as or as little as they want until the credit is used up or the session expires.
Three pickup locations on campus every week in the afternoon should make the process even more convenient, she said.
"We're trying to appeal to a lot of faculty and staff," she said, "so on their way home, they can swing by and pick up their share."
Beyer said the farm's goal is to increase Greater Lafayette's access to healthy food that's grown on small-scale farms, which are less harmful to the environment.
She noted students who live in dorms without access to a full kitchen may be the least likely to use the service, but they still can access some of the same foods through the university's dining halls.
"If there are students who are really into food and have time to cook, anybody is welcome to purchase a share," Beyer said. "And as a student farm, we get especially excited when students are growing food for other students."
Purdue's Student Farm is launching a farm share program split into two 10-week sessions ranging from June 15 to Aug. 20 and from Aug. 24 to Oct. 29.
Information on how to register can be found at the farm share Web page:purdueuniversitystudentfarm.csasignup.com/members
• 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center, 355 S. Martin Jischke Drive, West Lafayette
• 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Butch Block in Smith Hall, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette
• 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursdays at the Student Farm, 1601 W. State St., West Lafayette