Farm to table? More like garden to dorm: Caples Garden Farmers Market offers fresh produce to students, for free
A student in the gardening tutorial built this structure for beans out of bamboo last semester.

Farm to table? More like garden to dorm: Caples Garden Farmers Market offers fresh produce to students, for free

There are a bounty of farmers markets around Sarasota to choose from, but no other market is as local, or no-cost, as the new initiative in the Caples Garden. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.—weather permitting—all members of the New College community are welcome to selections from the garden’s produce. 

The current offerings included green tomatoes, Egyptian blue basil and lavender, but a variety of other produce from bananas to beans are growing. A cornucopia of horticultural techniques from around the world, such as the three sisters method that indigenous people throughout North America utilize to Hugelkultur from Eastern Europe and Germany, are used throughout the garden. 

Caples Garden Teaching Assistant (TA) Evan Morgan hopes to donate the remaining produce to the food pantry when the garden starts producing more than can be distributed through the market.

Thesis student Megan Delehanty, who is a participant in the gardening tutorial, became involved after her roommate participated in the composting ISP. 

“This just seems like a really Zen place and it’s cool to actually do something. I’m also thesising, so having an outdoorsy class really helps,” Delehanty said. “It’s a nice break from the academics. I’m really enjoying New College’s campus and helping contribute to it.”

“This is a Hugelkultur method where basically you put logs in below the plants and the soil and they eventually will break down,” Morgan explained. “It releases lots of good nutrients but it also is really good for water retention.”

Approximately two dozen students are involved in the gardening tutorial this semester, but Morgan said that the farmers market is an opportunity to introduce the garden to more students without an official activity on their contracts. 

While the market is open on Sunday mornings, Morgan emphasized that the space is open to everybody at all times, regardless if he or other members of the gardening tutorial are present. 

“It’s completely open access, people can always come here and just hang out or get some food or whatever,” Morgan said. “I mean, like, I don’t have to be here for you to come get some basil. If you want me here to learn where it is, that’s what the farmers market is for. But besides that, we have plenty of chairs right now, so this is a great place to work on your thesis or avoid working on your thesis.”

Morgan, right, and his dog Confucius outside of a gardening shed at the Caples Garden.

The garden is located at 375 Caples Dr. on the Caples Campus, between Mildred Sainer Fine Arts Complex and the New College Waterfront.

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