|Thanks to funding from alumni donations, students are holding a monthly farmers market at the University’s Sutton Bonington Campus, with the aim of making fresh, local and seasonal produce more easily available to students, university staff and the community, while supporting local producers.
The market was the brainchild of postgraduate students Emily Boothroyd, Saoirse Tracy, Sarah Deery and Selina Clayton, who now plan to hold a market once a month.
The group successfully applied for a grant of £3200 from the University’s Annual Fund, to buy the stalls needed for the market and promote it on campus and in the surrounding villages.
Emily Boothroyd explained: “We have all lived on campus at one point or another during our studies, and have all felt it is a shame that despite being situated in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside, it can be difficult for students living on campus to access local produce.
When we heard about the Alumni funds being available, we saw an opportunity to change this.
“The market will also benefit the local community, providing people in the surrounding areas with access to a range of local and regional products which they may not have otherwise known about. We have also made every effort to ensure the majority of producers are based within a 30 mile radius of the campus.”
Over 250 staff, students and local residents attended the inaugural market on Wednesday May 4, taking the opportunity to try locally produced fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh meat, preserves, olives, cider, dairy and baked products.
Saoirse Tracy, part of the team who co-ordinated the market said: “We received brilliant feedback from all of the store holders, most of which sold more than they expected to. We are now in the process of confirming their attendance at the next market, which we have pencilled in for June 1.
Next month we also hope to allow smaller producers, grow your own enthusiasts and the allotment society to trade or swap their produce.”
Simon Buttenshaw, Head of Development at The University of Nottingham explained that the tremendous popularity of the farmers’ market has come as no surprise, after a Facebook campaign run by the student organisers indicated that there was a real need on campus to source good quality local produce.
He explained: “Alumni of Sutton Bonington tell us that they are keen to donate to projects that make a real and positive difference to the lives of the current students following in their footsteps.
I am sure that they will be very happy that their gifts have been used to pay for the market’s start-up costs.
“Full credit goes to the students for having the enterprise and energy to set this worthwhile project up and to our former students for providing the funds for them to get started with it.”