Brown Market Shares
The Brown Market Shares Program (BMSP) is a student-run, campus-based food distribution program that connects the Brown community with regional producers through affordable weekly shares of fresh, local, and sustainable produce, bread, eggs, dairy, and meat. The BMSP directs $90,000 to the local food economy annually.
As a group of 362 “market shareholders,” participants of the BMSP made a real impact on Rhode Island’s food economy. Market Shares purchased food from 13 different local farmers and producers. Further, over the course of 11 weeks, 58 volunteers helped to provide 3,982 bags of produce. Almost one third of these bags were provided at a discounted price to students in need. Overall, Market Shares directs $90,000 per year into the local food system. What does all of this mean? This $90,000 promotes regional farm security, provides equitable access to sustainably-produced food, and fosters on-campus engagement and activism. As Michael Pollan says, “Food is a big deal. We vote with our dollars. I vote for farmers.”
The BMSP is based on the Community Supported Agriculture model. Under this model, Market Shares accepts payments in advance of the distribution season, and shareholders later come to pick up their share each week. Produce is sourced from five to ten farms, depending on the season, all within a 20-mile radius of the Brown campus. Market Shares operates in three separate seasons annually: Fall (September-December), Spring (February-April), and Summer (June to August).