Every Tuesday and Thursday for the month of September, you can find Devin Johnson selling Alaskan grown produce in various spots on campus. The produce comes from over nine different farms from the Mat-Su Valley.
This produce stand is part of a pilot project for Johnson’s honors thesis. Johnson’s goal with this produce stand is to gauge how students feel about having Alaskan grown produce at UAA and if students and faculty would like to see more stands like Johnson’s on campus, more frequently.
The research project is being funded by a USDA grant, and all the proceeds from the produce stand sales go back into funding more projects like this one.
Johnson is pleased with the attention the stand is receiving and is optimistic about the outcome.
“We didn’t advertise it at all, but we still had great sales. People are walking by and they get excited and check it out,” said Johnson.
Students are also interested in a healthier option when it comes to on campus food selection. Ashley Seliger, an elementary education student at UAA, is eager to have more options for fruits and veggies on campus.
“I think it’s good to have something that’s healthy around campus because we have so much stuff that is unhealthy that students are eating and then you have the freshman fifteen that always happens,” said Seliger.
In addition to healthier food, students also are also excited by the idea of bringing sustainable Alaskan grown products and eating local. Madeline Neel, a member of UAA’s sustainability club and natural sciences major, is especially excited about the accessibility for healthy food on campus.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for college students to have easy access to fresh locally grown vegetables right here on campus. It should be helpful for students who can’t easily get to the grocery store to get fresh food and even better food that is grown right in our own backyard,” said Neel.
The stand is selling all Alaskan grown vegetables and fruits, ranging from carrots, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, kale, winter squash, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, potatoes and more.
Due to the growing season, the produce stand will continue until the end of September every Tuesday and Thursday on campus.