June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and the Desert Farming Initiative, part of the University of Nevada, Reno Experiment Station, has been celebrating by sharing fresh produce with the community.
Tuesday mornings, June through September, the Initiative will be selling fresh fruits and vegetables grown on the farm at the farmers market at the Sparks United Methodist Church. Strict rules and regulations have been set up to ensure the safety of both the vendors and customers, limiting the amount of people able to attend. To ensure produce is available to the whole community, the Initiative has also been supplying fresh produce to food hubs and restaurants, including the Tahoe Food Hub, Fallon Food Hub, Great Basin Community Food Co-op and Liberty Food and Wine.
In addition, the Initiative is offering subscription boxes with their Farm Share Program. Those who subscribed to the sold-out program will receive weekly boxes filled with seasonally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. The 20-week program will begin in July and continue into September. With the new organic certification that the farm received this year, organic produce provided will include carrots, tomatoes, melons and raspberries, as well as many more products.
The Initiative is also continuously working with local charities to provide fresh produce to those in need. Currently, they are working with Catholic Charities and the Community Health Alliance to deliver fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.
“Although we had to put a lot on hold due to COVID-19, we are really excited to get all of our summer activities going,” Charles Schembre, program manager of the Initiative, said. “We always have a lot going on at the farm, so it’s nice to share it with the community.
The Desert Farming Initiative began in 2013 and is part of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. It acts as a demonstration and research resource in Nevada and as a year-round commercial farm. It houses greenhouses, hoop houses and 4 acres of row crops, as well as a 2-acre vineyard.