Plan focuses on local, healthy food

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New ideas about making health changes in the world are happening every day, and there is one that is circulating around Clarion. The Communiversity agriculture/natural resources team is working hard to make a positive change in the Clarion area regarding healthier food choices.

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Halee Kephart, a senior at Clarion University, majoring in corporate communication, is interning with the team to focus on bettering the community of Clarion. Kephart and others have been working together formulating ideas on how to help local farmers sell their goods.

“We have a lot of people farming in Clarion, but don’t have a place to sell their crops year-round. We’re working on finding an area to build an establishment where farmers can sell their goods and people can come buy them, Kephart said.  She is working on a three-member team that includes student jasmine Gilliam and community partner Elise Dietz, manager of the Farmers’ Market in Clarion.

The beginning steps of the plan require that the people working with the project must reach out to community members of Clarion to see specifically what they would want to see happen regarding the agricultural establishment. In the early stages this plan, the group members are extending to the community their ideas, but want to hear the community’s input as well and take it into consideration.

The hope for the project is to benefit local farmers and producers by giving them a place to encourage their hard work. The team is reporting to town meetings throughout the area to spread the word and make people aware of the project.

“There are big things, major issues in Clarion, and we can generate solutions,” Kephart said.

Besides a place for farmers to sell their products, there are other developments that the team wants to incorporate into this establishment. Inside the establishment, the team wants to build a shared kitchen where people can rent to make their own food and sell it. In addition to a shared kitchen, a gluten-free kitchen in is the works as well because gluten-free food can be hard to find, and it would give people in the area and out of the area a reason to visit Clarion. Also, a local man has been contemplating a brewery for years, and this could give him an opportunity to create a brew-pub, but this is far into the development plans.

“Our vision is to have people driving along the interstate a reason to get off the Clarion exit and come to our marketplace,” Kephart said.

Plans are still in early development, but students on the Communiversity teams will make public presentations of their plans 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the American Legion, Main Street, Clarion.

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