By Sarah Lappé, Sustainability Office communication coordinator
The beginning of a new academic year also marks the beginning of the ninth annual University of Utah Farmers Market. In its history, our market has grown from less than 10 vendors to over 30 and features Utah-grown produce, lunches and locally made gifts. Come join us at Tanner Plaza just west of the Union on Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Aug. 25-Oct. 6.
The market welcomes the entire campus community and the public, but why you should attend? Here are 10 great reasons why Farmers-Market-Thursdays are the best days of the week.
Access locally grown fresh food and produce
The University of Utah Farmers Market is for the whole campus community, but especially students. It addresses the fact that the university is in a food desert, meaning that student who live on or near campus may not have access to healthy food markets within a one-mile radius.
“Local food should be affordable and everyone should have access,” says Katerina Elshaug, the student manager for the market and Sustainability Office intern. “Because I live on campus, I have to hop on TRAX and other public transportation to get produce, which takes about an hour, but with the farmers market I can just walk there and get fresh produce, which is really great,” Elshaug says.
Get campus-grown veggies from the Edible Campus Garden
There is nothing more local than getting produce grown right here on campus from our Edible Campus Gardens. Local products use fewer fossil fuels to get to you, promote food safety, and support the local economy!
“The campus gardens grow sustainable organic produce,” says Alizabeth Potucek, the Edible Campus Gardens coordinator. “It is the highlight of our year to interact with the university community and provide fresh veggies to students, staff, and faculty at the market. We are a small diverse garden so there is always something new and fun. We have a mix of traditional produce like cucumbers, beans, basil, garlic, and tomatoes, but we also sell fun crops you may have never seen before. So, If you like to experiment in the kitchen, keep your eyes peeled for produce like amaranth, ground cherries, borage, and fava beans at our booth,” Potucek explains.
Double your dollars
Thanks to a grant from the R. Harold Burton Foundation, the Double Your Dollars program is returning to the University of Utah Farmers Market for a third year.
The Double Your Dollars program provides a $1-to-$1 dollar match for students to purchase produce and food items at the market. Participants can purchase up to 10 tokens from the Market Manager booth and can spend those tokens on grocery-like food items, including (but not limited to) fruits, vegetables, honey, salsa, and baked goods. The program helps student purchase healthy, local food and alleviates access issues to food during the market’s seven-week run. More than 400 students took advantage of the program last year.
“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the R. Harold Burton Foundation on this important program,” says Amy Wildermuth, chief sustainability officer for the university. “Double Your Dollars benefits local food vendors who attend the market, improves the health of students, and provides increased food access for all students, including those with lower incomes who may be ineligible for SNAP because of their student status.”
Double up food bucks
If you are a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant, then you are able to double the money you would normally spend at the market on Utah-grown produce.
Double Up Food Bucks is a partnership with Utahns Against Hunger to provide more fresh produce to low-income individuals and families. With Double Up Food Bucks, the market will match spending by SNAP recipients, up to $10 per market (equal to 20 tokens), for the purchase of Utah-grown fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks was made possible by a grant awarded to Utahns Against Hunger from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Enjoy well-priced lunch
Change up your daily food routine by grabbing yourself lunch at the market. Our on-site food vendors are ready to serve you up a variety of meals! Many great vendors are returning this year, including Tamales Tita with it’s $2 tamales — a crowd favorite — and Smoke A’ Billy BBQ & Grill with it’s competition-level barbecue, and Tequenos Factory with its Caribbean-style tequenos and salsa. New this year will be Cuban food from La Cubana, Korean barbecue from Cupbop, and Eastern European baked potatoes from Spudnik. #YUM! Be sure to come early because some vendors sellout of their popular items.
Treat yourself to something nice
After filling up your stomach, fill up your bag with awesome crafts from local artisans that include art, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and bath and body supplies. You can even spruce up your room with some beautiful succulents in handmade planter boxes.
Indulge in sweet treats
Bring your sweet tooth and experience the mouth-melting goodness from local vendors selling cakes, cookies, chocolates, and caramels. Each week swing by Sugared, Indulge Eats, Bubble & Brown Bakery, and the Hungry Bear Bake Shoppe. Indulge for yourself or give a gift to your friend or teacher. Our sweets vendors never disappoint.
Bike to the U Day
The market will feature Bike to the U Day on September 8. Be sure to bike to campus that day for free breakfast from Commuter Services. Plus, participate in the Lock-It-Or-Lose-It Program to register your cycle with University Police and get a free U-lock while supplies last. U-locks are one of the best ways to secure your bike. This is a very popular event, so get to the market early and give yourself some extra time to get through the registration process.
Participate in the community
Come to the University of Utah Farmers Market to engage with your community. Whit Hollis, director of the Union and long-time market supporter, described it best: “The Union serves a the community center for our campus. As such it is an intricate part of our mission to support a variety of programs and services for our faculty, staff, and most importantly our students. The Farmers Market offers a way to expose people to so many different values, such as sustainability, affordability of good food, new taste experiences, and maybe most important for me, offering people a way to work together with people they wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to work with. The Farmers Market has been one of our great partners, and we look forward to our continued relationship and all it has to offer our campus.”
Don’t just take our word for it
Check out our full list of 2016 vendors and special thanks to our partners, University Union and University Dining Service.