Over the last two years, the University of Alberta and Students’ Union have collaborated on several major projects. Out of the many new initiatives that sprouted up over this time, the Students’ Union Farmers’ Market is one of the best, and now it’s coming to students EVERY TWO WEEKS. The debut? Tomorrow, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Students’ Union Building.
Before we go any further in this article, check out this tweet from last year’s final Farmers’ Market:
— SustainableFoodUofA (@SustainFoodUofA) March 29, 2012
This year, Sustain SU is taking charge of the event, moving it from a monthly to biweekly frequency. For students looking for delicious fruits, veggies, beef jerky, soup mixes, chicken and more, the change is easily digested. In an e-mail interview, Farmers’ Market founder Nikki Way dishes on the details (in italics) behind the once to two times per month change.
The two markets last season were pilot markets to test the waters so to speak, and usually were decided upon only a few months ahead. This year, there is a market every two weeks so students can expect regularity. There are also more vendors this year, upwards to fifteen different businesses as well as a few food related student groups.
For countless students, the food vendors of choice are in SUB, HUB and CAB, where finding great meals isn’t too much of a challenge. However, Edo, Subway and Le Pasta, as filling as they are, sometimes grow boring. With the Farmers’ Market on campus every fortnight (14 days!), students now have a little more variety – and it’s all healthy.
Many of the vendors are also trying to cater to a student crowd, putting together student packages or bringing food that is perfect student food. Ready to make soup and chili packages for students to heat up, beef jerky and peanuts to snack on, ready to cook fresh pasta, fresh produce, it’s all there. It will make it considerably easier for students to pass on the boxes of kraft dinner five times a week.
Finally, the Farmers’ Market emphasizes the importance of living and buying local. Rather than spend our hard-earned student money on foods from large supermarkets (think Safeway, which imports from countries all over the world), your Farmers’ Market dollars go straight back to your local community.
A lot of people have the impression that local means more expensive and is only part of a ‘green’ trend that will die out. But it isn’t necessarily true that local means more expensive and I really don’t think that the food movement is going to die out and fade away like some obscure fashion trend. The local food movement embodies several themes that are and are going to be very important issues surrounding health, the environment, community, and economy.
We’re into the final 24 hours before the inaugural Fall 2012 Farmers’ Market. Make sure you come and grab yourself some eats for the week.
— UofA Sustainability (@GreenUofA) September 12, 2012