PSC Center for Sustainability Partners with Campus Bookstore on Local Food Access.
By Ariah Mitchell, Casella Climate Resilience Fellow
On campus at PSC, there are few options to purchase farm fresh or local grocery products. The Packbasket Bookstore has acted as a sort of convenience store on campus for quite some time, selling prepackaged snacks and drinks. Since our campus is 12 miles from town and about 6 miles from the closest market (Brighton Mini-Mart) and not all students have cars, access to fresh and affordable food can be an issue. According to a survey designed by Kevin McCarthy’s Fall 2022 class, students, faculty, and staff would like to be able to purchase organic, local food in the Packbasket. Mary Haskell, our new Bookstore Manager, is planning on a rebrand to do a better job of meeting the needs of the community both on-campus and off. The Bookstore will be partnering with the Center for Sustainability to make these goals a reality.
The A.P. Smith’s Bakery started offering local grocery items on campus last year, a switch which has been wildly successful. However, their hours are limited, which is where the bookstore comes in. Mary Haskell envisions a type of local food market on campus. “We want to support the farmers, local economy and the community, rather than importing food from across the country,” she says, describing her vision of the Packbasket rebrand as a general store. “I visit the farmer’s market every week, scouting for fresh, organic food that’s in season.” This fresh food will include local grains, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, beef, and other staples.
As of two weeks ago, the Bookstore is offering apples, carrots, eggs, potatoes, radishes, microgreens, and local meat such as sausage and beef. The produce is from Juniper Hills Farm, and the meat is from Harmony Hills Farm, just 15 miles down the road. The potatoes are Tuckers Taters, sourced just 3 miles from the college. With the new discounts for Paul Smith’s students and employees, these healthier and more sustainable options will be more accessible than ever. The hope is that students will enjoy their 10% discount on the local foods in the bookstore. Staff and faculty get a 5% discount. We’re looking forward to this sustainable change on campus, and hope you are, too.
The Center for Sustainability will be helping in this shift and ensuring the program is available for all by helping to identify local food vendors/farmers and partnering on a Sustainability Grant application. The proposed grant project is being written by Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn, Bookstore Manager Mary Haskell, and PSC student Josh Vetter. This will support the bookstore’s switch to a new POS system that will support SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), as well as funding a new refrigerator to store these delicious food items.
Photo provided. Article was first posted here, and used with permission.