Are you looking for the next coolest hang out spot where you can eat and explore healthy and locally grown fruits and vegetables, while at the same time enjoy a good time with friends? Well, look no further, because farmers markets are hitting the streets of Goleta to satisfy your health food craze.
Every Thursday and Sunday at the Camino Real Marketplace, as well as Saturdays in Downtown Santa Barbara, there will be a variety of healthy, yet delicious, foods that are grown and made for your purchase and provided to you by the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association (SBCFMA), a non-profit organization. According to the SBCFMA’s website, their association is composed of 130 grower members, and owned and operated by the members and its board of directors; they are committed to helping promote local family farmers, and protecting the environment by sustaining and restoring surrounding greenbelt areas.
“We love to help out the local family growers in our community who provide us with healthier options,” said SBCFMA Operations Manager Aaron Young.
So what exactly is a farmer’s market? A farmer’s market is a market held either outdoors or indoors with booths and tents where local vendors are given the opportunity to showcase a variety of their freshly and locally grown produce, meats, homemade products (such as soaps, candles, and lip balm), as well as prepared foods and beverages. Farmers markets add value to growing communities and are spots for social gathering fostering revenue for California family farmers.
“[The Farmers Market] is the only place we have to sell our products. The honey we sell is raw and organic, straight from the honey comb,” said a local vendor, Kristen, representing San Marcos Farms Honey Company.
The options the honey company offers range from dark brown honey, which is melted at 110 degrees Fahrenheit, to light brown, which is cold packed and has most of the enzymes left in it.
Other vendors, such as the Devereux Greenhouse, sell potted cacti and succulents raised by special needs adults.
“We offer plants grown with love by Greenhouse Workers in the Devereux Adult Day Program,” said Wendy of the Devereux Greenhouse. “Purchasing plants nurtured by individuals with developmental disabilities not only provides them with increased self-esteem, but makes you feel good too supporting this cause.”
There has been speculation about having a farmers market on UCSB’s campus. Students are currently in the process of petitioning to have a market on campus that would provide UCSB students and faculty the opportunity to purchase fresh, local produce in a sustainable and convenient way. There is also an online survey being emailed directly to students to further consider this idea. Those who complete the survey provide insight on the topic and necessary opinions about the benefits that hosting a farmers market on campus would have for students and faculty.
“I like the community feeling and the fact that I’m supporting people directly. Sometimes the prices are a little high, but I usually don’t mind spending a little bit extra to help out a member of my community,” said first-year undeclared major Kelsi Bombke in support of having a farmers market on campus
Having a farmers market on campus would definitely be a great way to purchase healthier options, but it may affect business for the Isla Vista Co-op. According to their website, the Isla Vista Co-op was founded when students angered by capitalism and corporatism burned down the Isla Vista branch Bank of America and replaced it with a community-owned venture that provides students with natural and organic products.
“[The Co-op is] driven not by profit, but by a motivation for community autonomy, mutual aid, and environmental justice,” states the website.
Whether or not a farmers market will make its way to the UCSB campus, make sure to check out one of these markets and support local farmers who make it their pride to serve the community with only the best products.