ASU's Fresh & Local Market returns to campus

University farmer's market promotes sustainability and small businesses

ASU’s weekly farmer’s market has returned to campus at a new time and place for this semester.

The Fresh & Local Market offers locally grown produce and homemade goods every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the College Avenue Commons Pavilion Area.

The market’s main goal is to encourage people to think more about where their food comes from as well as support to local businesses, according to its Facebook page.

Hannah Lira, a sustainability senior, said she started volunteering at the Fresh & Local Market out of curiosity and is now a sustainability coordinator for the University.

Lira said she believes it’s important that members of the ASU community come out and support the market.

Anthony Luna

A customer purchases produce from Utopian Harvest at ASU's Fresh and Local Market in Tempe, AZ on Sept. 28, 2017.

“One of ASU’s sustainability goals is food reconnection,” Lira said. “That means creating a connection between students, faculty and local food and really teaching people about what it means to be sustainable.”

Utopian Harvest, a member of a cooperative partnership with other urban growers, is an example of the Sun Devil connection that the Fresh & Local market fosters.

Luke Messer, a grower with Utopian Harvest and an ASU alumnus, said his interest in agriculture began when he was a college student, volunteering at the gardens in Barrett, the Honors College.

Messer said that when he found another opportunity to get involved and promote local produce at a central location like ASU, he couldn’t turn it down.

Students can find better food options at markets like ASU’s Fresh & Local in comparison to other nearby grocery stores like Safeway or CVS, Messer said.

“There’s so few local produce and healthy food options in the area,” he said. “We have local stuff, it’s reasonably priced and it’s fresh.”

In addition to the booths that students can wander through, the Fresh & Local market also holds free workshops such as bird feeder-making tutorials and a seed donation ran through the University library. 

Shilo Patchin, an ASU library information specialist, said the farmer’s market at ASU had larger turnouts when she attended in past years.

Patchin said in earlier years the market was held around the Memorial Union, which she thought attracted more student interest.

“Location matters,” Patchin said. “I think when people are over here they’re looking to just get between classes, and at the MU they’re more relaxed and looking to wander around.”

Despite lower numbers than previous years, Lira said the market draws about 50 students every week with its numbers growing steadily.

“Our numbers are growing the more we market,” Lira said. “We’re really trying to get the word out so people know that there’s fresh and local food and businesses out here.”

Lira said she hopes that visiting the market makes students more aware of healthy food as well as sustainable practices. 

“Food is just such an important thing in our lives,” Lira said. “The food we eat should be good food — it should be local, it should be organic, it should be grown in the community and it should be shared.”

Reach the reporter at Kimberly.Rapanut@asu or follow @kimrapanut on Twitter

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