The Office of Sustainability, aided by multiple undergraduate and graduate students, will launch the 2016 Farmer’s Market on April 13 with new sustainability guidelines.
According to Lisa Nicolaison, program coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, the market will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Firestone Library/Chapel Plaza every Wednesday until May 11.
The Office of Sustainability and the student organizers for the farmer’s market created strict sustainability guidelines for feature vendors, according to Nicolaison.
The vendors must only sell locally produced food, which is defined as produce grown within a 50-mile radius of the town of Princeton. Some exceptions are made for produce grown within 100 miles. The produce sold must also be grown and produced in a sustainable way and obtain USDA certification, according to a document provided by Nicolaison.
Confirmed vendors who have satisfied the above criteria at the time of publication include Terhune Orchards, Nutty Novelties, Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse and Tassot Apiaries, Inc. Nicolaison said the Office was still working to finalize paperwork for three or four more vendors.
Nicolaison said that the Office has no input on the prices vendors set in the market, and that the vendors are responsible for making their own profit since the University does not pay them to attend. She also said that almost all of what vendors supply is seasonal.
“The prices are reasonable in comparison to all the markets in the area and compared to a supermarket as well,” she said. “It depends on where you shop and the types of items you get are what you’d find at Whole Foods which are expensive, but I think for what you’re getting the value is right.”
Nicolaison added that although the market is affordable if students budget correctly, she can see why the prices may be a concern for students.
This year, the student organizers and the Office of Sustainability aimed to have new initiatives in the market such as visiting speakers and different publicity efforts.
“We wanted it to be more populated with students and faculty and raise awareness on campus,” Kira Keating ’18, a student organizer of the farmer’s market, said.
Nicolaison said that guest speakers, including some from University campus dining, would give interactive, hands-on talks and presentations for an hour under the main tent during the market. Food samples will occasionally be given out.
“We thought it shouldn’t be just about food, Farmer’s Market already is more than just about food but as I mentioned multiple times we like to see a community come together around food,” Rozalie Czesana ’18, another organizer of the initiative, said.
Nicolaison said that there will also be tables available for sustainability student groups on campus to display their works.
Anastas Belev ’16, another student organizer, said that the market needed more student volunteers to help set up the market. Belev has been involved in the market since his sophomore year and said that the University has been supportive of the effort by granting the market funding and allowing it to take place in the Firestone/Chapel Plaza.
The biggest role is to get funding for the market, since there isn’t a fund associated with it right now, said KatieAnna Wolf GS, a graduate student organizer of the market project.
“I love going to farmer’s markets,” Wolf said. “I’m a huge gardener, and I like to eat lots of produce. I’ve been going to the town farmer’s market since I’ve been going here five years ago.”
Wolf said that she hopes the market to become an ODUS group as this will provide an additional channel of funding. She further noted the significance of the message sent through the market.
“Eating local is not just about quality but about the environmental impact, organic production, how the food is grown and the transport required for non-local foods,” she said.
“We really want to focus on getting local farms and businesses to the campus so students can be more aware about eating locally,” Keating said. “It’s kind of like bringing the whole campus and community together.”
Nicolaison explained that the University-led market changed the event dates to spring from winter so they would not overlap with the town’s market. She added that the University and town advertise each other’s market and share similar vendors.
The first Farmer's Market at the University began in 2007.