Farm Stand Returns to UT Campus
The UT Farm Stand is a university Green Fee project designed to allow students the opportunity to regularly purchase organic, local produce. The school has hosted six farm stand events since its debut in February 2016.
But how does this event benefit the Longhorn community? Farm Stand volunteer coordinator and environmental science student Samantha Haight expressed that Farm Stand “provides students with a way to access fresh, healthy food”, and that she loves the “positive and fun environment” that Farm Stand brings to campus.
Farm Stand also delivers a unique atmosphere that encourages students to learn about eating healthy and local food. The Sustainability Coordinator of Division of Housing and Food Service, Neil Kaufman, declared that Farm Stand provides a “festival environment” by utilizing a tent with an inviting display, as well as recipe cards and ways for students to become actively involved with the stand beyond simply purchasing its goods.
The emphasis on local and organic products is one of the key features that makes Farm Stand unique. Sourcing food locally allows for a Farmer’s Market-type feeling on campus, and makes nutritious food affordable for students. Some of the goods sold at Farm Stand, such as the basil sprigs, are grown directly on the UT campus in gardens located behind Jester Dormitory. Other goods, such as eggplant and sweet potato, are sourced from other farms within a 150 mile radius of the UT Austin campus.
More than just the customers, Farm Stand is also a great benefit for the students who step up to volunteer at the event. Outreach coordinator Laura Bliss sees great value in the chance for students to learn about “the local food economy, event planning, purchasing, advertising, and social media”.
In all, Farm Stand is a unique opportunity for UT students to become directly involved in their food system and embraces a valuable form of community. Students are free to volunteer for future Farm Stand events, helping to keep the event exciting and inviting for months to come.