Home Lifestyle On-campus Farmers Market successfully underway at Wingate

On-campus Farmers Market successfully underway at Wingate

Shoppers looking for fresh produce browse the Farmers Market at Wingate University. Photo by Wingate University

Late last month, Wingate University became home to a weekly Farmers Market, thanks to a three-way partnership between the University’s Collaborative for the Common Good, the Town of Wingate and the N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Open each Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m, the market, near the northeast corner of East Wilson and Main streets at the site of the Community Garden, features local produce, meat products, baked goods and specialty vendors.

In addition to cash or credit/debit cards, the market also accepts SNAP/EBT benefits. Organizers are working on a system to allow students to use their Wingate Bulldog Bucks (credits assigned as part of their campus meal plan) for payment.

“I am thrilled by the excitement this collaborative project has created on and off campus,” says Dr. Catherine Wright, executive director of the CCG.

She said the market, which has funding support from the American Heart Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, is helping to turn the Community Garden area into a center for civic engagement while also creating new opportunities for Wingate students.

“It’s really a hands-on experience for anyone wanting to learn about food systems and about marketing,” Wright says. “Students have the opportunity to work alongside farmers.”

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Members of Wingate’s Environmental Biology Club have been helping with setup and tear-down each week, and students exploring the University’s newest major – biology with an emphasis in agricultural food systems – are finding built-in opportunities to explore their interests and test their newly developed skills.

Wright said academic departments across campus, including the public health program and the schools of sport sciences and education, are getting involved in the market, with plans underway for them to host events alongside vendors. The Union County Health Department will offer EBT enrollment on an upcoming market day, and the market will also be the location for a medicine drop-off event.

“Stay tuned for more fruits of this partnership that are yet to come,” Wright says. “This is truly a space filled with potential; it’s a great way for faculty to get students engaged with the community, and vice versa.”

Shoppers at the Farmers Market will find produce vendors such as Greenworks and Crossroads. Meat producers at the market include Parker Farms, Little Family Farm and Peaceful Meadows. The market also features bakeries including Dekenchar (breads, cupcakes, cheesecake) and specialty vendors such as Hobb’s Nuts, Tucker Honey and Wing-it Apiary.

Vendors rotate in and out, with new ones being added on a regular basis. Follow the CCG on Instagram @ccgwingate for weekly vendor updates.

To become a vendor, visit the Cooperative Extension website (union.ces.ncsu.edu), click on Union County Farmers Market and then on the “Interested in Becoming a Vendor?” form link. Contact Jessica King at 704-564-2883 at the Extension for details. Or to learn more about the Collaborative for the Common Good, email ccg@wingate.edu.

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