Consumers buy in to MTSU Student Farmers Market (+...

Consumers buy in to MTSU Student Farmers Market (+VIDEO)

A self-proclaimed “farmers-market junkie from way, way back” Elizabeth Nelson has been looking forward to every Friday’s sale of produce, plants and honey inside the MTSU Horticulture Center.

“When I found out there was a farmers market here at MTSU, I was here the first day, and I come back every Friday,” said Nelson, a Murfreesboro resident who is a freelance editor and the wife of David Nelson, director of collection management in the university’s James E. Walker Library.

Elizabeth Nelson said she welcomed the addition of arugula, a leafy, peppery herb popular in salads, and added that “the potatoes are to die for. There is nothing like it. They are fresh out of the ground.”

The Student Farmers Market has been held each Friday afternoon this summer. It will be on a temporary hiatus in August, however, as personnel prepare their fall garden and get ready for a special autumn event.

Dr. Nate Phillips, an assistant professor of horticulture in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, said he expects the weekly Friday farmers’ markets to resume on Sept. 6.

Watch a video about the Student Farmers Market below.

“The students are actually selling the produce that they’re growing out at the MTSU gardens,” said Phillips.

The university farm is located off Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tenn., about six miles east of campus.

“We have class participation with our vegetable gardening class helping to grow the transplants, plant the seeds, prepare the soil and we also have Plant and Soil Science Club members helping out with it,” Phillips continued. “They grow the plants through the year, and they bring them down every Friday and sell to the campus community and also other community members.”

Phillips said proceeds from the sale “go back into the MTSU farm to help keep the farm laboratories going, as well as the Plant and Soil Science Club.”

Michelle Shelly, a freshman plant and soil science major from Wartrace, Tenn., was part of the May Term’s vegetable gardening class. She called it “a very good experience.”

“You learn what you do right and what you do wrong, which is really helpful because you don’t waste so much of your time and energy,” Shelly said, “but out here (at the farm) you also have several different ways of doing things and you can make your choice from there, how you want to do it in your home garden.”

When the farmers market reopens in September, shoppers should bring cash or checks only; no debit or credit cards can be accepted.

Because of continuing road construction at the intersection of Champion and Lightning ways, shoppers should enter campus via Blue Raider Drive on the north side or MTSU Boulevard on the east side to reach Lightning Way.

A printable campus map can be found at

For more information about the market, call the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience at 615-898-2523 or contact Phillips at 615-494-8996.

— Randy Weiler (

Freshman plant and soil science major Michelle Shelly of Wartrace, Tenn., harvests strawberries in the late spring at the MTSU Farm in Lascassas, Tenn. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

Shopper Elizabeth Nelson pauses with a sackful of vegetables and a plant she purchased at a recent MTSU Student Farmers Market.

Shopper Elizabeth Nelson pauses with a sackful of vegetables and a plant she purchased at a recent MTSU Student Farmers Market.