Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

The road ahead

Farmers marketIf you ask students about their favorite new “thing” at Wheaton this year, chances are you will hear about the farmers’ market. On Fridays at noon this fall and spring, local organic farmers and artisans set up their wares on tables in the Dimple (or in the atrium at Balfour-Hood) and attracted brisk business from students, faculty, staff and a few neighbors who were in the know.

It’s not hard to understand the attraction. The farmers’ market featured lots of good things: fresh fruits and vegetables, artisan breads, locally made cheeses, smoked fish, organic honey and much more. Student groups contributed to the bounty, too, making and selling panini with organic ingredients and traditional Vietnamese spring rolls; they also sold the fresh salad greens harvested from the student-run greenhouse next to the Presidents’ House.

The most remarkable thing about it, from my perspective, is that the market owes its existence to student initiative. It was created through the leadership of the student-run group, AfterTaste, with help from the provost’s office administrative assistant, Bernice Morrissey, and Jennis Heal, executive chef with Wheaton’s food service provider, Aramark. It exemplifies what can be accomplished when the college empowers students to be leaders and entrepreneurs, and it provides the space to experiment with new ideas. It’s also a good example of one way to create opportunities for learning. [Read more...]