July 2020 update: Due to the pandemic, food security is an even greater concern. Vegetables in the Community, in partnership with the Easton Urban Farm, is continuing to operate a community farm stand Thursday evenings to provide nutritious, affordable food to our community. The stand is following health and safety guidelines. (Photos and video are from 2019.)

Story and photos by Stephen Wilson

A bushel of beets and a basket of chard. Might not sound like much, but imagine 9,300-plus pounds. That’s the total weight of vegetables, in varieties more than beets and greens, that have been distributed this year at the Vegetables in the Community (VIC) stand at 10th and Pine Street in Easton’s West Ward.

The 700 lbs of produce shared on the final night took the season total over 9,000 lbs for the first time in seven seasons. Community activities including music (DJ and live band), popcorn, a cookout, and, of course, a bounty of vegetables were part of the celebration acknowledging the end of an extremely successful summer at the Veggie Stand.

VIC is a community effort and cooperative project with produce sources from around the Easton area: LaFarm (Lafayette’s campus farm), Easton Urban Farm, and Edwin’s Garden at the Crayola facility in Forks Township.

The program began as a result of a Technology Clinic project in 2013. That year saw 1,500 pounds of vegetables harvested for the contribute-what-you-can farm stand. Subsequently, Lawrence Malinconico, associate professor of geology and director of Technology Clinic, and Benjamin Cohen, associate professor of engineering studies, manage the weekly efforts to distribute fresh produce contributed from the multiple community sources. They also supervise the Lafayette students who, with other community members, are actively involved in running the stand.

“The West Ward is a food desert,” says Malinconico. “This is an example of what a program with academic, local government, NGO, and corporate cooperation looks like.”

The stand averaged 70 people each week this year.

“That means many more are benefiting as the veggies were brought home,” says Cohen, “for a total of close to 30,000 nutritional servings shared in the neighborhood just this summer.”

Here are some images from the final night.