Berea College Farm Store Celebrating 10th Anniversary
November 29, 2023
By Paula Keshderian
|BEREA, Ky. – The Berea College Farm Store is celebrating 10 years of offering students and community members the opportunity to purchase locally grown food while supporting the College, its students and its mission.
The store is open year-round, offering a daily lunch menu provided by students using fresh, organic ingredients, which come directly from the Berea College Farm.
“Berea College is a huge part of the community, and the farm and Farm Store provide a connection to the community by providing locally grown food to our customers,” said David Little, manager of the Farm Store for the past eight years. “The community may not always see everything Berea College does, but they can see what the greenhouses are growing, and they can see the cows, pigs and poultry out in the farm pastures. Then, when they come and shop at the Farm Store, they see those products for sale, and they know exactly where they came from and where they were raised or grown.”
The Berea College Farm has grown significantly throughout its 150 years of operation. As a result, the Farm Store was created as an outlet to sell meat and produce from the Berea College Farm to the community.
With the help of the staff and 13 labor students, the Farm Store has also expanded exponentially, becoming a place where customers can get hot lunches, salads, sandwiches and different products from the bakery all prepared using fresh, organic ingredients from the Berea College Farm.
The store also has been a testimony to Berea College's supportive and sustainable living commitment.
“We try to be a good example of sustainability and eliminate as much waste as possible,” Little said. “Plus, we advocate for buying local, organic produce as a way of supporting the community."
Little said he believes the pandemic raised awareness about where our food comes from, and the Farm Store provided a great place for the community to shop.
“We were operating with a curbside grocery pickup, and I had many community members comment on how grateful they were that we were able to provide groceries safely and conveniently.”
Little grew up in Berea and has served the community by promoting the Farm Store and offering fresh, locally grown food by the College and surrounding farm partners.
Little has coached youth sports in Madison County for more than 12 years, and he volunteers with the Madison Sothern High School booster clubs where his son, Sam, plays football and basketball. Little’s wife, Kristy, has also been an important part of the community. She was born and raised in Madison County and has been a teacher for 26 years. She currently teaches science at Madison Southern High School.
“Madison County has been our home for a long time, and we love it here” Little said. “I love that my job allows me to engage with the community and offer products that are grown in the community. It’s a source of great pride for me.”
Aside from a few full-time staff, the Farm Store operates entirely on student labor. The students are a diverse group of individuals who come together with their desire to learn more about farm-to-table food preparation and collaboration of business models.
The Farm Store offers a large selection of items, including daily hot and cold lunch offerings, fresh bread and pastries, frozen meat, fresh produce and dry goods. Bakery items are made from scratch with Berea College grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables. The in-house butchery allows the Farm Store to offer and use meats raised on the College Farm.
“The store used to be just an outlet to sell the products from the farm, but now it has evolved into a store where we offer a number of value-added products like chicken salads and hot lunches and sandwiches,” Little said. “That’s just another way we use products from the farm. So, we aren’t just bringing in items and putting them on the shelf to sell. We are bringing them in and adding value by using these ingredients in all the products we sell. And on top of that, we are teaching students about sustainability, collaboration and business management.
“The Farm Store has been a testimony to Berea College’s supportive and sustainable living commitment,” Little said. “It has provided so much for our students and our community. I look forward to the next 10 years of growth at our Farm Store.”
For more information about the Farm Store, click here.