Farmers market ‘reconnects’ with campus 

This is a project I have assisted whenever called on to do so. This university attracts a great many rural and suburban from a diverse set of backgrounds and yet has almost no attention paid to environmental sustainability or food policy in its coursework, outside of a very few entrepreneurial and committed professors.

A selected student runs the 2-3 times per semester market, and is in charge of adding vendors, running the actual market day and doing on-campus marketing. From my vantage point, this simple project has taught quite a few young adults about farming and about healthy food at a point when they are willing to take in new information. It has also opened an ongoing discussion of why the campus outlets don’t offer better and local food whenever possible.
This market is also an example of the expanded typology that we need to categorize and share so that organizers or partners don’t only expect a 30 + member heavy-on-raw-goods Saturday morning market as the only appropriate intervention. The goals of this market are closely tied to their unique structure and strategy or, what we used to call the 4Ms at Market Umbrella (well, I still call them that)-the market’s mission, management, marketing and measurement. Those first two Ms are the framework for the internal systems created and are linked (the mission should tell you what type of management/governance is required) and the following two are designed once the system of management has been created.

(By the way, this is also a framework we used for evaluating any new project at MU for many years: we first decided if any project suggested was clearly within our mission; then we discussed the type of supervision (management) that would be required and decided if we had the skills and hours to do it well; any marketing and outreach also meant ensuring that our vendors and present shoppers understood the project and of course measurement was based on the external benefits of the project but the impact on the market itself was also measured. Even if the project was successful by external measures, if the present market community felt the project had negative impacts that outweighed the positive ones, then it was not repeated or made into a actual program past pilot stage.)

Many vendors found having a farmers market on campus was beneficial towards the students. It offered students a way to buy local food. Ory explained that Locally Preserved products could easily be incorporated into easy meals for college students. One option is adding their apple pie butter to a bowl of oatmeal for flavor.

Source: Farmers’ market ‘reconnects’ with campus | lionsroarnews

 

Some background from the professor and the founder…

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