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Purdue Student Farm helping to stock pantries

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Despite not having the usual vendors available, the Purdue Student Farm continues to produce food and is now supplying Food Finders Food Bank and the on-campus ACE Food Pantry with fresh produce.

Horticulture and landscape architecture professor Steve Hallett says they have donated 100 bags of fresh greens to Food Finders every Monday and Thursday during the pandemic.

“There is a possibility that there may be some shortages of fresh vegetables as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in donations to organizations such as Food Finders, and we want to do our part for our community,” Hallett said

Student farm manager Chris Adair says leafy greens are what’s most currently available and says they will continue to donate food as crops continue to grow. 

“We’re going to run the farm for as long and as normally as possible,” he continued. “We try to always promote the idea that access to healthy food is essential for every community, not just during times like this.”

Workers on the farm are taking extra precautions, including being divided among two small groups that don’t interact, practicing social distancing while harvesting and packaging and workers are wearing gloves and masks at all times while handling food. 

The farm is taking extra precautions to keep its student employees and beneficiaries safe and healthy. This involves dividing into two small groups that never interact with each other and keeping employees a safe distance apart while harvesting or packaging. Additionally, while handling food and packaging, students wear masks and gloves at all times.

“We are planning for the rest of the season,” Hallett says. “It is sowing and planting time. We hope we will be able to sell to the dining halls by the end of the summer, but if not, we will sell directly to the community and we will continue to donate.”