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UAM offers first on campus free farmer’s market

Produce at the Plaza gives students access to free local produce.

Lecturer+Courtney+Toya+helps+junior+accountant+major+Camille+Williams+pick+out+a+batch+of+grapefruit+Monday+at+the+University+Art+Museum+Plaza.+
Lecturer Courtney Toya helps junior accountant major Camille Williams pick out a batch of grapefruit Monday at the University Art Museum Plaza.

Lecturer Courtney Toya helps junior accountant major Camille Williams pick out a batch of grapefruit Monday at the University Art Museum Plaza.

Jose De Castro

Jose De Castro

Lecturer Courtney Toya helps junior accountant major Camille Williams pick out a batch of grapefruit Monday at the University Art Museum Plaza.

Connie Ojeda, Staff Writer

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University Art Museum presented its first free on-campus farmer’s market on Monday after collaborating with Food Forward, a nonprofit organization that rescues excess produce from farmers markets and links it with people in need.

“Produce on the Plaza,” which took place next to the UAM on lower campus, was created as a pilot program to help determine whether it is feasible to host a farmers market offering free produce to students at Cal State Long Beach either once a month or more often, beginning next year.

“We decided that we should partner with [Food Forward] because they are interested in getting more produce to students, and since students are definitely a population that needs good fresh food, we thought that this would be a perfect thing to try to do,” said UAM director, Kimberli Meyer.

By collaborating with Food Forward, the UAM was able to offer students produce brought in from the Sunday-only Long Beach Marina farmer’s market, which will be a collaborator for future events.

“Today is kind of a trial, we brought in all this produce from yesterday’s farmer’s market,” said Meyer. “They just don’t sell everything every week at the farmer’s market; it’s the highest quality produce that you could find, so we’re very excited about it.”

The two hour event attracted a rush of students, who aside from taking advantage of the opportunity of receiving free produce seemed very enthusiastic.

“We are hoping that everything goes,” said Meyers. “We are also trying to figure out the timing, like if this is a good time of the day, so that we can take advantage of the most foot traffic and make it convenient for students to come by and just grab a few things on the way to class or on the way home.”

“We are really excited that so many students came through and were interested in receiving free produce.” said Courtney Toya, a hospitalities management professor who participated in the event setup.

Aside from giving out free produce, the UAM director also provided take-away recipes and constructed a salad, which students could put together using the produce from the event.

“I love salad, I love to cook,” said Meyer. “I came up with a salad to do as a demo and provide recipes, so people could do this with today’s glean if they wanted to.”

Although Food Forward was a major collaborator for the event, CSULB Sustainability and the Department of Hospitality, Food Service and Management also contributed to the event.

If Produce at the Plaza proves to be successful, students at CSULB will have access to free produce on a regular basis for years to come.

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