Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Farmers' markets growing on college campuses

Farmers' markets are finding their way onto college campuses, as students become more focused eating more produce, and eating produce that has been grown locally, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Kathryn Andersen, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and helped start the farmers' market at Princeton University, says college markets give students a place to interact with each other and faculty, as well as teaching them more about agriculture. "Students can really understand where their food comes from," she said. "You can ask questions that you can't ask in a grocery store. What type of apples are these? . . . Why would I want to eat a Stayman Winesap rather than a Pearmain?"

One of the student leaders of the University of Southern California market, medical student Kevin Chang, said campus markets face two challenges: Farmers need to be aware that students often have limited access to kitchens, so foods that don't require cooking are important; and it is often difficult to convince farmers that a campus location would be profitable. For this reason, USC buys food from farmers, then uses what doesn't sell in the dining hall.

Mary MacVean notes that farmers' markets are also becoming more popular at hospitals as well, writing that "like colleges, they are places where the institution and the vendors have philosophical connections." (Read more)


Anonymous said...

I think this is really good initiative. This will help things.

donald said...

well, i also believe that it's a great initiative but why does the farmer need to realize that college students do not have access to kitchens thus taking it upon themselves to limit their selections to those vegetables and fruit that are better consumed raw? It's great that colleges want to introduce and expose their student body to good nutritious food but this also has to be lucrative for the farmer, let's not forget. I know that here in Boulder, CO not enough farmers exist in the county to supply a farmers market on C.U.'s campus. Most of the local farms market their produce in a variety of different ways, C.S.A.'s, farm stand's, restaurant sales, and the boulder farmer's market which occurs on wednesday's and saturday's. Taking into account how labor intensive organic farming is, there just ain't much room to introduce another farmer's market exclusively for an institution of higher education. What I think needs to happen is better marketing on the campus for the Boulder Farmer's Market which is walking distance from the campus. Also, C.U. owns a healthy chunk of water rights to maintain those lush green lawns so I propose they till them up and plant some food. Point being is that there exist other ways of exposing these young folks to good food. Hell, why not have a farm team up with the school to offer C.S.A. shares to students or the parents of?