Blacksburg Farmers Market to go mobile
BLACKSBURG – The Blacksburg Farmers Market has been dreaming about a mobile demonstration kitchen for nearly three years. By the end of this market season that dream could become reality.
The Blacksburg Mobile Kitchen will complement the Blacksburg Farmers Market by showcasing local chefs and cuisine. The kitchen will be used to demonstrate nourishing and healthy cuisine preparations, all while using locally grown foods.
“We hope to invite local chefs to demonstrate in our mobile kitchen with the hope to encourage better eating practices,” Market Director Ellen Stewart said.
The project, which is the brainchild of Friends of the Farmers Market, grew legs in spring 2010.
That’s when FFM began working on design and construction plans for the mobile kitchen.
Since then, FFM has partnered with Virginia Tech Department of Building Construction Assistant Professor Andrew McCoy and a team of students.
McCoy, the faculty advisor for students working on the project, teamed up with Elizabeth Gilboy, Director of the Community Design Assistance Center.
Together, McCoy and Gilboy began coordinating and engaging architecture, building construction and landscape architecture students in a trans-disciplinary design-build competition, McCoy said.
Stewart said teams of students submitted their designs and the best ideas were taken from each and put into one collaborative design.
Last fall, Ferguson Enterprises donated a commercial-grade kitchen oven and stove.
“As a structure, the mobile demonstration kitchen was originally meant to protect and transport a gas oven for cooking demonstrations and public festivals with the donated equipment of an influential sponsor,” McCoy said.
Through the mobile kitchen, the market will be able to educate the community on preparation of fresh foods, healthy living and the support of local farms, McCoy added.
McCoy said approximately 25 people have offered their labor, designs or expertise for the project.
The budget for the project is capped at $5,000 and the group is working hard to stay within those means, McCoy added.
The final product will use many donated materials as well as the volunteer labor of many individuals.
Many of those volunteer hours have been given by McCoy’s students.
“I am particularly proud of the students,” McCoy said. “They produced a number of possible designs for a mobile kitchen for the [FFM] and they also raised the money and prizes for the competition.”
The Blacksburg Mobile Kitchen, which is centered on community, has truly become a community project, especially for McCoy’s students.
“We are currently involved, on multiple levels, in projects that not only reach out to our community, but integrate with local needs, influencing the environment and simultaneously re-shaping it,” McCoy said.
The Blacksburg Mobile Kitchen is a great way for McCoy’s students to deliver a product tailored to a specific community’s needs.
“Through such partnerships, this type of leadership has fostered innovative means for impacting individuals, businesses, communities and the environment,” McCoy said.
The project not only serves as an educational tool for McCoy’s students, it also serves as one for Blacksburg community members.
“As a result of the students’ willing and skillful assistance, the market will be able to educate the community on preparation of fresh foods,” McCoy said. “The result of such education has been a reciprocal process, where the local and regional community has gotten involved, provided feedback and simultaneously educated the design and construction committee and process.”
McCoy hopes the kitchen will be finished this summer and have an inaugural demonstration before the market season ends.
To see designs and follow McCoy’s updates, visit http://sites.google.com/site/blacksburgmobilekitchen/.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627