Farmer's market opens on campus
March 13, 2008 1:15 PM
Hali Richardson bit into a slice of a bright orange mandarin in front of the Twin Girls Farms citrus stall at the Associated Student's Inc.'s first ever all-organic farmer's market Thursday morning.
"It's really good," said Richardson. 20, as she stood in front of four vendors selling potatoes, vegetable greens and citrus fruits organically grown from farms in Northern California.
The market, located in between the Humanities building and Cafe Rosso will continue every Thursday from 11 a.m to 3 p.m until the end of the semester.
Richardson, an undeclared student, said it was an easy walk from the Village apartments where she lives on campus.
"It's easier for me just to walk right over. It's nice to have more stuff here," Richardson said, explaining that she used to have to ride her bicycle or rely on her brother to take her to Trader Joe's or other grocery stores.
Elizabeth Catalan of the Catalan Family Farms woke up at 5 a.m to drive two-and-a-half hours from Hollister to set up her vegetable stall SF State.
"There's a lot of people here," said Catalan, who also helps to plant, grow, pick and harvest the produce on her family's farm. "We will come back."
Krupa Kothari, freshman representative for ASI arrived before the market began to support the event as a board member. She bought some butter lettuce and planned to buy oranges before heading to work later in the day.
"I think it's a great success. I was a little worried because it was dreary looking, but the sun's out and students are coming out of classes and realizing there's fresh produce for them," said Kothari, 19, a marketing major .
JoAnna Sablan, 24, said she was happy to come to the market since she usually goes to farmer's markets in Redwood City. The biology major plans to sauté the leeks, kale and cabbage she purchased together for a healthy dish.
"It's awesome. I definitely plan to come back," Sablan said.
Sablan said she wished the market offered more items. ASI officials said they plan to expand and hope to bring in an organic bread vendor.
"It would be nice to see more produce,” said Sablan. "But I found everything I wanted. It's a good start."
Process of how the market was created
The college can select fresh produce such as green garlic, kale, chard and tree fruits from four local Northern California vendors from 11 a.m to 3 p.m at the walkway located between the Humanities building and Cafe Rosso.
“Everyone needs to eat and we need more healthy food options on campus,” said Jeremy Nicoloff, the 31-year-old ASI graduate student representative who came up with the idea for the market over a year ago last May.
For the time being, the market will assemble every Thursday until the end of the semester, but Nicoloff said his goal is to make it a regular ASI-sponsored event.
The first 100 students to buy at least $3 of produce today at the market will receive a free canvas bag touting the ASI/SFSU farmer’s market logo. Nine hundred more canvas bags will be given away to students voting in ASI elections.
SF State student Neely Shamam, 22, welcomes the healthy options the farmer’s market will provide.
“I see a lot of grease and sour cream on campus and the vegetables aren’t fresh,” said Shamam, a cinema major. “I would go for sure.”
To ensure the market’s future success, Nicoloff wanted it to be as profitable for vendors as it is convenient and low cost for students.
While vendors are often charged a fee to set up stalls at other markets, the student union waived all fees for its event. That decision, Nicoloff said, “will leverage prices down as much as possible and will allow them to lower their product prices for students.”
Vendors also have exclusive rights to what they sell, which means that only one vendor can sell one product. The student union felt it was important to foster a non-competitive environment not only among vendors at the farmer’s market, but with permanent vendors as well, meaning that vendors cannot sell foods already being sold on campus.
“The more successful vendors are, the more they want to stay. I want it to be successful for them here as it is at the Ferry Building,” Nicoloff said.
Sepee Cigarchi, 20, visits a Pleasanton farmer’s market on the weekend. She said she wished that fresh produce was available when she lived at SF State.
“It’s good for people who live on campus or close by, because when I used to live here, getting to a grocery store was hard,” said Cigarchi, a psychology major. “If I had an option of getting fresh fruit from the farmer’s market, or getting a salad from the salad bar in the student center I would get the fruit.”
Nicoloff said he hopes to bring in an organic bread vendor, in addition to more produce vendors. He said that there will never be music at the market because of its proximity to classrooms.
Aside from the benefits the market brings to the SF State community, the environment also benefits from the market in a number of ways, Nicoloff said. It cuts down on fuel consumption because products are brought in locally and students don’t have to drive to get produce. The market also lessens the amount of waste because vendors don’t have to package their products.
“It’s a way for ASI to promote green living and promote health on campus as well as community building,” he said.
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