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Monday, December 22, 2014

Student group sells local, organic fruit at Duck Pond stand

FruitStand
By Courtesy Photo / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Cheyenne Beardsley, co-chairwoman of UNM’s chapter of New Mexico Youth Organized, stands behind the group’s fruit stand near the Duck Pond. The stand offers locally grown fruit for $1 or less.

A group of UNM students is offering a healthy alternative to the snack options of chips and candy available at the SUB.
The UNM chapter of New Mexico Youth Organized has a fruit stand, stocked with local and organic fruit, near the duck pond.

Cheyenne Beardsley, co-chairwoman of UNM NMYO, said the group has organized the fruit stand twice and plans to open it again on Friday.

“We sell organic and local fruit and we’re trying to have that available for students on campus,” she said. “If all they have is just fast food, or something quick and easy like chips at the convenience store, we want them to have another option and show them that local food is important.”

Beardsley said the group gets fruit from La Montañita Co-op on Central. She said they buy the fruit in bulk from the Co-op and then sell individual pieces of fruit for $0.50 to $1.

“We got wholesale from them for the first fruit stand, and we got kind of a little bit too much, so we gave the rest to Food Not Bombs,” she said. “We sell apples and pears, peaches, plums and nectarines.”

Beardsley said the group got the money to purchase fruit from the off-campus chapter of New Mexico Youth Organized.
The group is trying to educate students about the benefits of locally grown food, Beardsley said.

“Along with the fruit stand, we’re passing out information about different food issues,” she said. “We had stuff about food security and the importance of local food. If people want to come get fruit, they can get information, too. We want it to be educational as well.”

Bruce Milne, program director of the Sustainability Studies Program, is the adviser for UNM NMYO. Milne said he helped the students to get the stand up and running.

Milne said the Sustainability Studies Program connected the students with the Co-op.

“When they approached us, I thought it was just a really fantastic idea that serves a useful purpose of providing healthy food to people on campus,” he said.

Milne said UNM has partnered with the Co-op to increase the amount of local food sold in the state.

“In the Sustainability Studies Program, we have an organization called FoodPrint that’s about developing the local food shed, and the Co-op is a member of that,” he said. “So, this is one of those examples where we’re in association with businesses outside of the campus that are part of the sustainability scene.”

Beardsley said she wants the fruit stand to be a weekly event, but she needs more students to help run it. Right now, only two students are available.

“We’re trying to do it once a week, but our schedules are pretty hectic, so it’s been kind of not steady,” she said.

*Fruit stand
Duck pond
Friday 12:30 – 4 p.m. *