Health and Wellness initiatives fall 2019

An example of what participants in the CSA Farm Share brought home each week for 10 weeks in the summer. The fruits and vegetables were from Catskill Cattle Company, a family farm in Deposit, N.Y. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.
An example of what participants in the CSA Farm Share brought home each week for 10 weeks in the summer. The fruits and vegetables were from Catskill Cattle Company, a family farm in Deposit, N.Y.
An example of what participants in the CSA Farm Share brought home each week for 10 weeks in the summer. The fruits and vegetables were from Catskill Cattle Company, a family farm in Deposit, N.Y. Photography: Jonathan Cohen.

Community Supported Agriculture Farm Share Pilot

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Share started as an expanded pilot program on campus this past summer. Previously, Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) had run a smaller farm share program with its own employees. Responding to the desire to expand the offering to a larger population, the Healthy Campus Initiative reached out to Cornell Cooperative Extension, which works with the Broome County Regional Farmers Market on Upper Front Street in Binghamton, to develop a relationship with a local CSA farm willing to make campus a weekly pick-up location, as well as one able to offer a variety of share options of different sizes, price points and contents.

This summer, the pilot program swung into high gear with Catskill Cattle Company, a family farm located in Deposit, N.Y., that focuses on using modern agriculture practices to ensure a lesser impact environmentally. The farm grows several varieties of fresh produce and raises registered and commercial cattle. The massive variety they offer made it possible for participants in the CSA Farm Share program to not only choose the size of their weekly vegetable share, but to also take advantage of the opportunity to add a weekly delivery of farm eggs, milk or ground beef if they desired.

Our expectations for the first summer program were modest. We were hoping for at least 10 participants, but wanted at least 30. We ended the summer session with over 50 participants and almost half of them selected to also add on a weekly delivery of eggs, milk or meat. Toward the end of summer, we knew we wanted to continue the program to not only take advantage of the fall harvest, but also to offer easy and affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables to students, who missed the summer program.

The Autumn CSA Farm Share program is being offered for eight weeks on campus, from Sept. 12–Oct. 31. Delivery is on Thursdays from parking Lot B, near the Peace Quad. Pickups must be made between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. New for the fall is an affordable student/single share option for $10 per week. The student shares will contain enough produce for one to two people and focus on more familiar fruits and vegetable items that will be easy for students to use and prepare in a residence hall or apartment setting. While the weekly share items change based on availability at the farm, a student/single share could include some kind of fruit, salad greens and veggies that work in salads or can stand alone and are easy to prepare. In addition, each week of the fall program, any weekly shares that are not picked up by participants will be donated to the Bear Necessities Food Pantry as a way to help with food insecurity on campus. At times, participants may forget to pick up their shares, or are out of town and then ask for their shares to be donated.

There are 71 participants for the fall program, up 29% from the summer.

Comments from some participants are positive:

“I’ve been a member of CSAs in the past and really appreciate the convenience of having a pick-up location on campus. The wide selection of vegetables and seasonal fruit was always an enjoyable surprise at pick-up time!” Sharon O’Neill, director of employee recruitment initiatives, Division of Student Affairs

“It’s a convenient way for students to access fresh produce. We are encouraging greater consumption of fruits and vegetables while supporting the local economy.” Alexa Schmidt, BUDS registered dietitian, adjunct lecturer in the Health and Wellness Studies Department

There are several CSA Farm Share options in the Broome County area. We encourage everyone to explore the many different farms that participate and consider joining one. A few are certified organic, and many others offer specialty items to their customers. More detailed information is available online.

Separate but related to the CSA Farm Share program, last semester the Food Co-Op, the Student Culinary Council, the Healthy Campus Initiative, Auxiliary Services and OCCT teamed up to offer free transportation for students to the Broome Country Regional Farmers Market that was a huge success.

Services for Students with Disabilities Transition Program

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) held its annual Transition Program for new Binghamton University students registered with the office on Aug. 22. The goal of the one-day program is to position students for success. Critical topics covered included understanding reasonable accommodation, effective communication with professors, resiliency when things don’t go as planned and the meaning of self-advocacy in college.

This year SSD had 75 new students attend the program. Participation grows each year and the data shows that students who attend the program have higher GPAs and are less likely to be on academic probation.

New York State Lacrosse Regional Championship Tournament

After hosting the inaugural tournament in July 2018, the NYS Lacrosse Regional Championships returned to Binghamton University in July as a two-and-a-half days’ championship-style tournament. Teams from around New York state competed on both the east (track and field stadium and Campus Recreation turf field) and west (Bearcats Sports Complex) sides of campus, with teams and tournament staff residing on campus in the residence halls. Age groups range from rising eighth graders to seniors in high school.

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