Farmers market brings a bit of freshness to campus

Vegetables on display at the on campus Farmer's Market at Vara Martin Daniel Plaza on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.  Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
Vegetables on display at the on campus Farmer’s Market at Vara Martin Daniel Plaza on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
By Rae Jefferson

The only thing better than finding crêpes, freshly squeezed juices and homemade beauty products in the same place is finding all of the above ­— and more — between classes at an on-campus farmers market.

The Baylor Sustainability Office will host the second annual on-campus farmers market from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in Vera Martin Daniel Plaza, next to the Bill Daniel Student Center.

The event will be cash-only.

Smith Getterman, assistant director of sustainability and special projects, said the on-campus event will feature both new and returning vendors from the previous market.

Coffee vendor Dichotomy and crêpe vendor Co-Town Crepes are returning booths that were crowd favorites last year. New faces will include Vanilla Bean Bake Shoppe and Uproar Records, a Baylor-based record label that will provide live music for the event.

“We’ve made quite an effort to get more prepared food out here, but that’s also in addition to the actual farmers we’ll have from the farmers market,” Getterman said.

In addition to coffee and crêpes, some of the more than 20 booths will feature products such as baked goods, pretzels, jams and sandwiches.

Other vendors will promote Waco or Baylor-based sustainability groups, such as city of Waco Solid Waste and the Baylor Energy Awareness Program.

Rosenberg senior Matthew Reid, Sustainability Student Advisory Board member, said featuring sustainability-oriented groups will give students a chance to see beyond traditional sustainable practices like recycling and energy conservation.

“Sustainability isn’t always food and the environment, but it’s what we’re doing right now so that the next generation can inherit a good planet,” Reid said.

The student board’s involvement allowed greater involvement for campus-based student groups like The Wells Project, Getterman said.

“There are groups that my advisory board reached out to that they knew about or are a part of, that I just didn’t have connections to,” he said.

Getterman said the farmers market will present the Baylor community with three goals: further development of the relationship between the Waco and Baylor communities, encouraging attendees to make a link between the food they eat and the people who harvest it and putting people in an outdoor environment so that they can view God’s creation.

“You’ll actually be able to make a connection between what’s on your plate and someone who makes their living growing and harvesting it for you,” Getterman said. “I think it’s a great way to bring a little bit of Waco onto Baylor’s campus and make that connection.”

Reid said he agrees that the farmers market acts as a bridge between Baylor and Waco.

“A lot of Baylor students are really conscious about food, health, fair-trade and supporting local farmers,” he said. “This is great. Not only for people’s health, but also for seeing money go back into the community.”

Coppell senior David Dreier, Sustainability Student Advisory Board member, said he thinks the farmers market will allow attendees to see things in the community that are “led by sustainability.”

The first on-campus farmers market, which was held last spring, was full of trial and error, Getterman said. Electrical outlets in the SUB, which powered booths serving prepared foods, were faulty and failed about halfway through the event.

“We’ve had quite a bit of time to look and see what we need to do to improve it,” he said. “They’ve redone the outlets, so now we’ll be able to support those organizations better. We shouldn’t have that problem this year.”

Getterman said the original idea for an on-campus market was inspired by the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, which operates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at 400 S. University Parks Drive.

“The downtown market is really such a robust market,” Getterman said.

This semester’s market is motivated by Baylor Sustainability’s desire to offer a regularly occurring on-campus market, Reid said.

“There are other colleges that have weekly and bi-weekly farmers markets on-campus, and it’s big for them,” he said. “I feel like this could be big for Baylor. I’d like to see these happening once or twice a month.”

Sara Shoup, vice president of the downtown market’s Board of Directors, worked closely with Getterman and Baylor Sustainability to plan the first on-campus farmers market.

“We had a good experience there,” Shoup said. “We’re hoping to grow on that and provide something that students can expect regularly.”

Shoup said the presence of a Baylor farmers market could increase the popularity of the downtown Waco market.

“Hopefully we’ll see an increase in traffic from students,” she said. “We hope to give Baylor a taste of what Waco has to offer.”

The fast pace of the Waco farmers market makes one-on-one interactions with vendors more difficult, Shoup said.

The on-campus market’s more relaxed atmosphere allows students to speak with sellers about the creation and value of their products.

“These guys take a lot of pride in their work and their product,” Shoup said. “I hope students talk to vendors about where their products come from. I’d like to see students going to farmers markets like they would a grocery store.”

Reid said he has learned a great deal about the health benefits of natural products and food while attending the Waco farmers market.

“I’ve learned a lot out there,” he said. “This is a chance for vendors to educate students about what’s really in products – what’s really in your deodorant or chapstick.”

Dreier said people should make an effort to visit the event, even for a few minutes.

“The location is central to campus,” he said. “It’s really convenient, so there’s no excuse not to come.”
Getterman said he would like to see as many people attend the farmers market as possible.

“If our farmers market is supported and well-done, it can become as great as any other regularly occurring on-campus event, and can become a staple of Baylor University.”