The first University of California, Santa Barbara Gaucho Certified Farmers Market will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot 23, and the official grand opening will occur on the following Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This opening will feature live music from a local band — Bren Band — as well as a talk from alumn Katie Falbo and dining from two local food trucks.
“I think that the on campus Farmers Market is a really great concept,” said Emily Cosentino, fourth-year economics and mathematics major. “It will allow students, especially those living in IV or on campus, to get easy access to fresh and local food.”
Seasonal fall fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins, apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and leeks are expected in this month’s markets. Also included in the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market each week are local artisans sharing fresh honey, jams, bread, and popcorn. At the grand opening on Oct. 30, one of the farmers has agreed to give out nearly 600 pounds of bok choy, or Chinese cabbage.
The main goals of the market at UCSB are “to support local farmers and sell local, fresh produce and artisan goods,” said Forest McMillin, Farmers Market intern and third-year environmental studies major. “[It will] help educate staff and faculty and students, community members about the benefits of healthy eating and healthy living.”
Some students may remember filling out a survey last school year about potentially starting the Farmers Market on campus. In very little time at all, Dana Huffman, one of the main leaders of the UCSB Gaucho Certified Farmers Market and a staff member at UCSB, said that there were nearly 3,000 positive responses to the survey. Of these responses, 60 percent were from students and the rest were from staff members.
“This has been tried a couple times in the past, but for some reason it has never gone to fruition,” said Huffman. “This is the first time that it has gone this far and we have actually made this happen. All the other UCs have a farmers market. We’re the only ones who don’t.”
Some of the local farmers joining the market include Ellwood Canyon Farms, Pepper Creek Family Farms, Underwood Family Farms, Tamai Family Farm, Rodriguez Brothers, and Westland Floral.
Interest in the farmers market is rising, and organizers plan to add more farmers and artisans throughout the year. Organizers also plan to integrate different groups on campus each week in regards to sustainability and bring in students of all ages, including elementary students and the on-campus daycare students. McMillin stressed that early education on what different kinds of food are out there and what you can do with them can really improve your life.
Both McMillan and Huffman are confident that the UCSB Gaucho Certified Farmers Market will not compete with the Isla Vista Food Co-op, because both groups are aiming for the same goals in providing the community with healthy, sustainable foods and education.
According to the group’s Facebook page, each week the UCSB Gaucho Certified Farmers Market will feature a campus or local workshop on related sustainable ideas for the campus and local community.
For more info on the UCSB Gaucho Certified Farmers Market, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/gauchocertifiedfarmersmarket.