Students at The University of Nottingham are challenging the stereotypical student diet of pot noodles and frozen pizzas with the help of the region’s food producers.
Healthy local produce is now the food of choice following the success of a student run farmers’ market at the University’s Sutton Bonington Campus.
Over 250 staff, students and local residents attended the inaugural market on Wednesday May 4, taking the opportunity to try locally produced fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh meat, preserves, olives, cider, dairy and baked products.
The market was the brainchild of postgraduate students Emily Boothroyd, Saoirse Tracy, Sarah Deery and Selina Clayton, who now plan to hold a market once a month.
Their idea was inspired by the popularity of the ‘East Midlands Farmers Market’, held at the campus as part of Go Greener Week — a series of events which promote environmental awareness across the University.
The group then successfully applied for a grant from the University’s Annual Fund, which uses donations received principally from alumni, to support projects which directly enhance the student experience, or which add to the University’s student outreach or community activities.
Emily Boothroyd explained: “We have all lived on campus at one point or another during our studies, and have all felt it is a shame that despite being situated in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside, it can be difficult for students living on campus to access local produce. When we heard about the Alumni funds being available, we saw an opportunity to change this.
“The market will also benefit the local community, providing people in the surrounding areas with access to a range of local and regional products which they may not have otherwise known about. We have also made every effort to ensure the majority of producers are based within a 30 mile radius of the campus.”
Fellow organiser Saoirse Tracy continued: “We received brilliant feedback from all of the store holders, most of which sold more than they expected to. We are now in the process of confirming their attendance at the next market, which we have pencilled in for June 1. Next month we also hope to allow smaller producers, grow your own enthusiasts and the allotment society to trade or swap their produce.”
Simon Buttenshaw, Head of Development at The University of Nottingham explained that the tremendous popularity of the farmers’ market has come as no surprise, after a Facebook campaign run by the student organisers indicated that there was a real need on campus to source good quality local produce.
He explained: “Alumni of Sutton Bonington tell us that they are keen to donate to projects that make a real and positive difference to the lives of the current students following in their footsteps. I am sure that they will be very happy that their gifts have been used to pay for the market’s start-up costs.
“Full credit goes to the students for having the enterprise and energy to set this worthwhile project up and to our former students for providing the funds for them to get started with it.”
The stall holders present at the first Sutton Bonington Farmers’ Market, held on Wednesday May 4 2011, were:
Blackbrook Traditional Meat
Brocklebys (meat, pies)
Woodhouse Farm (pork)
Picks Organic Farm Shop (vegetables, eggs, cheese and meat)
Thirsty Farmer Cider, Farmer Fear (cider)
Bittersweet Chocolates (chocolates)
Blueberry House Country Products (hot food)
Afia's (Indian food)
Olive Tree Company (olives)
Elizabeth's Patisserie (cakes)
Beez Neez (honey/preserves)
Nottinghamshire Flavours (books)
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Notes to Editors: A number of photographs from the event are displayed on the University’s Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/uonottingham); all of these pictures are available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news
The Annual Fund: To find out more about the Annual Fund, please visit http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/supportus/annualfund
Go Greener: The University of Nottingham is committed to being a leading green university which has been reflected in taking second place in the UI Green Metric of the world's leading Green Universities.
Right across our award-winning campuses, we’re reducing energy from fossil fuels, encouraging sustainable travel and cutting down on waste. We’ve made great strides in recent years and building on last year's Go Greener campaign and pledges we really want to do so much more. And that’s where you come in.
As a community of thousands, University staff and students hold the power to effect real change and combat the threat from climate change. For more information, please visit the Go Greener website at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gogreener/gogreener.aspx