USAC's plans for on-campus farmers market underway
Proposal is still pending approval, but the event could include performances as well as food.
By Roy Hu
Originally published in Daily Bruin
The first on-campus farmers market will debut in Bruin Plaza during winter or spring quarter pending environmental, fire safety and administrative approval.
The idea to host a farmers market at a central location accessible to students came from a friend’s suggestion, said Emily Resnick, Undergraduate Students Association Council general representative and coordinator of the market.
Originally, it was slated to begin this Saturday as a weekly market featuring produce from local farmers.
“It was a possibility, that was what we were aiming for. But we encountered a lot of roadblocks,” Resnick said.
The idea has since evolved into a proposal to the administration for a quarterly or bi-quarterly event with artistic performances from various student groups, she added.
“My farmers market at home had a local choir and local performers,” Resnick said. “And here, we can showcase the best UCLA has to offer.”
Because organic and locally grown foods have been growing in popularity nationwide, Resnick said she believes she is responding to what students actually want.
“Right now I would have to go to Santa Monica or the Grove to get to a farmers market,” said Jay Zhang, a third-year biochemistry student. “It seems like a cool idea. They have better food.”
Jules DerVaes, a possible vendor for the UCLA farmer’s market, said people want transparency in regards to where and how their food is grown – and they will be willing to pay a premium for it. DerVaes owns an urban homestead in Pasadena that sells mostly organic produce to local restaurants.
“The price of good food is something you’d always want to pay,” DerVaes said. “We call it a good health insurance.”
Starting a farmers market at UCLA has been on the General Representative 2 office’s campaign agenda since last spring’s student election season.
According to Nicole Klein, a director for general representative’s office, USAC had previously been working on the idea with adviser Berky Nelson, who stepped down because of a family emergency. The new adviser, Mike Cohn, said the project is still in the planning stages and declined to provide further comment.
“We’re waiting for (USAC President) Jasmine Hill to get back to us,” Resnick said. “And we can start from there, meeting with administrators.”
Besides getting approval from a vice chancellor, Klein said USAC would need a food permit from UCLA Environment, Health and Safety, and proof that crowding Bruin Plaza would not constitute a fire hazard.
Published: Friday, November 19, 2010