Running through the summer and early fall, Vegetables in the Community (ViC) is a food distribution stand located at 10th and Pine streets in Easton’s West Ward (identified as a local food desert). It started as a collaboration several years ago from a Technology Clinic class working with the now dissolved West Ward Neighborhood Partnership to address lack of access to fresh produce. Subsequently, the program has evolved into a cooperative community development project among Lafayette College, the City of Easton, local NGOs, and Crayola. Students and faculty work cooperatively with neighborhood residents to deliver the produce, advertise, share food knowledge, collect and distribute recipes, and cook samples. There are also co-programming activities for children including taste testing and games.
As part of Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars research program, students work as members of the community to grow, tend, harvest, and distribute produce at the stand. They also conduct economic, ecological, and food justice research in support of ViC’s goals for healthier neighborhoods through easier food access. LaFarm is but one of the gardens across Easton that sources the stand, along with partners at the Easton Urban Farm, the Crayola gardens, and other community gardens.