Commons Market program brings fresh fruits and veggies to campus

Commons Market display in Gorsuch Commons

Healthy eating on campus became much easier this week with the opening of the new Commons Market in Gorsuch Commons.

Offering reasonably priced fruit, vegetables and bread, the store provides fresh food for students that may not have access to a car or grocery store.

“Now we have fruit! We can plans our meals!” squealed MAC resident Katie Bailey as she looked through the produce.

The program was created by Bob McDonnell, director of UAA Business Services, after he noticed that students were renting cars at Parking Services to drive to the grocery store and buy produce.  He then approached Seawolf Dining about the possibility of offering basic grocery items on campus.

“I thought, we have a full kitchen.  We have a bakery crew that comes in and works all night.  What if we had some kind of market where we could offer students that were living in the apartments a way to get at least some of their food and not have the hassle of driving?” McDonnell said.

The Commons Market will provide fresh bread and about a dozen fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, celery, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and zucchini.  All of the items will be stocked from Dining Services and any unsold items will be returned to inventory to avoid waste.

“I wanted it affordable and I wanted as much choice for students as possible,” McDonnell said.  “If we get special requests we may be able to expand a little bit.”

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Students will be able to pay for their groceries inside the Bear Necessities convenience store using cash, credit or a Wolf Card.

“We’re going to be offering fresh fruits and vegetables kind of like a regular Fred Meyer market,” said Amy Neill, assistant general manager at Seawolf Dining.  “We wanted to try to offer more healthy stuff and a variety of products for the students.”

The Commons Market will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.