Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Vegetables
Canadian campuses haven for fresh produce


September 1, 2010
By The Canadian Press

Topics

August
31, 2010 – Fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables and other artisanal
products are turning up on Canadian campuses as students embrace the trend of
shopping at farmers markets.



August
31, 2010 – Fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables and other artisanal
products are turning up on Canadian campuses as students embrace the trend of
shopping at farmers markets.

McMaster
University
in Hamilton has just launched a market, the result of student Mary
Koziol’s passion for local food. It runs every Thursday in the centre of the
campus.

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“It’s
a completely not-for-profit venture,” says the 22-year-old
president of the university’s student union. “But it’s a start in terms of
offering healthy and local options to those who study (at), work (at) and visit
the McMaster campus.”

At
Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., about a dozen local vendors bearing
fruits, vegetables, cured meats, fresh lamb, cheeses, freshly baked bread and
maple syrup descend on the campus every Friday.

“We
do it outdoors and have a barbecue going as well as live entertainment,” says
university spokesman Iain Glass, adding, “It is the social event of the week, a
wonderful break for students and others as well.”

Although
the McMaster market is run by students, Koziol says the farmers who supply the
produce “are invited to come and share their invaluable knowledge with us.”

So
far they have managed to source three area growers of fresh produce as a
beginning, she says.

Robert
Chorney, executive director of Farmers’ Markets Ontario and chairman of
Farmers’ Markets Canada, says the campus markets are so far relatively unknown
by his organization.

“We
have had inquiries from a few universities, but I know very little about what
is going on with them,” he says. “We would be glad to help them in any way we
can because it is so positive to see the students keen on local, fresh,
nutritional food.”

Dalhousie
University
in Halifax doesn’t have a farmers market, but it has put in
community gardens so students can grow fruits and vegetables for their own
consumption, says university spokesman Charles Crosby.

One
of the most ambitious projects of all is the farm at the University of British
Columbia
in Vancouver. Its market has become so successful that it runs twice a
week, Wednesday and Saturday.

“This
is a pretty unique connection,” says Mark Bomford, director for Sustainable
Food Systems
at the farm. “Most farmers markets rely on produce grown somewhere
else, but the food for our market is grown right in our fields.”

The
farm and its market have been operating for 10 years, he says, and has always
been student-run from the cultivation of fruits and vegetables to the managing
of the market.

“Revenue
from the market is the main source for all the different teaching and research
programs that are happening on the farm,” says Bomford.

The
University of Waterloo’s market is located in the Student Life Centre and is operated
by student volunteers, says media spokesman John Morris.

Students
teamed up with the university’s Food Services division and produce is sourced
from the Mennonite-run Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative.