USC’s Farmers’ Market

Apparently college campuses are increasingly offering a site for farmers’ markets – Mary MacVean writes about this trend in “Farmers markets’ new harvest: campus customers.” 

The idea is to be “better environmental stewards, to put a focus on where our food comes from, who grows it, how it gets to our plates,” said Kevin Chang, a student leader of the Trojan Fresh Market, a monthly market of farm foods and other products on McCarthy Quad at USC.

USC has adjusted the usual model, becoming a sort of middleman, buying from the usual market vendors then setting up its own stands and reselling the products. I find it difficult to believe that the reason for this is that vendors might be difficult to convince to spend time on campus – I was pleased to see that the university at least did invite a farmer to give a talk at the market.

I hope that USC will see that it’s really to their advantage to educate the student body about why the market is important on many levels, not just as a convenient source of fresh food (the USC market, since it’s run by the university, does accept dining cards as a form of payment). While I applaud USC for taking the first step, I would be much more impressed if the food producers were invited to sell directly to the students, not only giving the students the opportunity to shake the hand that feeds them but also giving the farmer a higher percentage of the transaction.

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