Ahhh, spring. That wonderful time of year when flowers are blooming and you can sit outside in the sun and … buy fresh produce? On campus?
St. Kate’s recently started selling fresh fruits and vegetables through BrightSide Produce, the organization whose mission is taking a step towards equality in food justice. The organization officially started on campus on March 29.
“BrightSide Produce is an economically sustainable business model to make fresh produce more available in low-income urban neighborhoods in Minneapolis,” the BrightSide website states.
The organization began in 2014 as a collaboration between the University of St. Thomas and the Community Table Co-op. It was created because the city of Minneapolis ordained that corner stores provide a certain amount of fresh produce. However, corner stores often do not have enough room for cases of produce. This is where Brightside steps in. Produce unable to be taken by corner store or not sold in the stores or is sold at St. Kate’s via the Buyer’s Club.
“I got involved with BrightSide because I am really passionate about increasing access to nutritious food. I would characterize the mission of BrightSide at St. Kate’s … as: to bring a variety of affordable and quality produce to the St. Kate’s community [and] increasing access to nutritious food options,” Ani Janzen, ’17, dietetics, said.
“It’s a win-win at providing low-cost produce to inner-city corner stores and college campuses,” Christina Meyer-Jax, the faculty member in charge of this program, stated.
The Buyers Club allows students, faculty and staff to buy bags of fruits and vegetables for $3, $5 and $10. Fresh produce is sold on Mondays and Tuesdays in the Butler Center’s concession area from 11:30 to 1:00. The money raised through this program helps fund the inner-city program, which involves paying youth workers, buying gas for food distribution and covering other costs.
So far, Brightside helped 20 corner stores provide fresh produce to customers. Meyer-Jax has committed to doubling the amount of produce sold at St. Kate’s starting on April 18. BrightSide will continue operating through the summer and into next year. This will increase the amount of low-cost produce consumption on campus and help even more corner stores get the produce they are required to sell.
The organization needs volunteers to help sell produce each week. If you are interested in getting involved, email Christina Meyer-Jax at email@example.com.