Common Ground Hits The Streets

Allison Park PhotoStep aside, Stop & Shop and Big Y: There’s a hotter spot to buy produce near the Brookside housing development.

It’s a mobile wooden stand run by Common Ground High School students, whose school grows the vegetables on sale.

The students were out hawking affordable fruits and veggies at the Common Ground Mobile Market located at Brookside Estates Housing and Cornell Scott Health Center at 200 Wilmot Rd. Thursday afternoon. The market will operate two days a week through Sept. 18. On Tuesdays it sets up from 2-5 p.m.  in front of the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center at 400 Columbus Ave., except on July 31st, Aug. 21st, and Sept. 18, when it’s next to the Brookside Housing Estates park at 6 Solomon Way. On Thursdays it sets up from 3-5:30 at the Brookside 200 Wilmot Rd. location.

Common Ground High School is the nation’s oldest environmental charter high school. Students grow and harvest produce on site as part of their education. The types of produce available changes slightly every week “depend[ing] on what we have on the farm,” said Mobile Market Manager Kelly Shreeve.

Mobile Market aims to make access to quality produce convenient and affordable for everyone in New Haven, especially those who can’t make it out to traditional grocery stores or farmers markets. Rising Common Ground senior Stephen Stanley is in his second year working at the Mobile Market. He said said he typically sees “older people” purchasing from the stand.

The students started planting the seeds six weeks ago so that the produce would be ready for the first week the Mobile Market.

Customers can buy produce ranging from kale to blueberries at the Mobile Market, for as litle as 50 cents for two peaches and one dollar for a bunch of locally grown cilantro.

Shreeve said the market seeks to be “responsive” to the feedback from the customers and residents. As a result from customer feedback on Tuesday, the season’s opening day, more fruits including blueberries and peaches were incorporated into Thursday’s stand. Shreeve also commented that the location outside of a health center makes access to the stand even more convenient because of the consistent traffic in and out of doctor appointments.

Stanley was the only student working at Thursday’s Mobile Market. He was “recommended” to the program based on his success in high school. Through the paid opportunity with Mobile Market, Stanley has learned practices of sustainable agriculture, community values, and contributing to the local food system.

His favorite part of the program is “seeing the community happy.” For those planning to purchase produce from the stand, Stanley highly recommends the carrots. “They’re the sweetest I’ve ever tasted,” he said.

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posted by: dad101 on July 14, 2018  7:10am

Every child in NEW HAVEN PUBLIC schools should have to participate in such a program. There is a requirement for community service that is often thru family friends etc why not teach all children about growing their own food and what it actually cost!!!!!!!!!!!! every school could incorporate whether it be roof top gardens community gardens etc!