We talked a lot in my Community Nutrition class last semester about starting farmers’ markets in food deserts to provide fresh produce to residents. Although Ann Arbor is far from a food desert, it can be difficult for students without meal plans or cars to go to the grocery store on a regular basis to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The Michigan Student Assembly delivered with a farmers’ market last week!
MFamers’ Market was held at the University Union and featured a variety of seasonal produce including squash, eggplant, apples, tomatoes, and peppers. As an added convenience for students, the Market accepted cash, credit card, and Blue Bucks. I was able to grab a squash for just twenty-five cents!
MFamers’ Market was a dynamic environment that encompassed much more than simply selling food. Several farmers were on hand to chat with students about their produce—I spoke to the farmer who provided that squash I bought and he suggested that I chop the squash into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, and sauté in olive oil. Yum! There were also chef demonstrations and plenty of free samples. I tried a classic Wolverine trail mix that included peanuts, raisins, and blue M&M’s.
Several student organizations were on-site to provide students with information about healthy initiatives on campus, including the Body Peace Corps, a student group that promotes healthy body image, and University Dining Services. I ran into Alex Kloehn, another SPH Nutrition and Dietetics student, who was at the Market on behalf of Dining Services. He shared information regarding sustainability in the dining halls.
It was really great to see the University’s commitment to healthy living in action at this event. Not only did the market provide food to students, but the event also took additional steps to teach students how to cook their harvest. I hope to see you at the next MFarmers’ Market on Thursday, October 6!