FGCU produces farmers market on Dec. 2

Students will have the opportunity to toss the Ramen noodles and invest in some fresh and local alternatives.
Florida Gulf Coast University is having one of the first farmers markets on campus Tuesday, Dec. 2. This initiative has been attempted in the past but failed due to various reasons including contractual regulations enforced by FGCU’s food vendor, Aramark.
In order to comply with Aramark’s policies, the farmers market will be held in the auxiliary parking lot in North Lake Village and will not sell any items in direct competition with Aramark’s products.
Danielle Benson, an FGCU freshman, wanted to bring a farmers market to campus as part of her Honor’s Colloquium project. She contacted Carleen Hunt, the Student Government director of sustainability, in hopes of accomplishing this. Benson then became one of Hunt’s coordinators and the two of them began working on the initiative.
Benson said, “I wanted to do this in order to offer a convenient and ecologically friendly shopping alternative to students and faculty members.”
Benson and Hunt teamed up with chef James Fraser, a professor for Resort and Hospitality Management who also had bringing a farmers market to campus as one of his personal goals. Fraser said, “When I first started (at FGCU), I realized that there weren’t any resources for fresh veggies and fruits that are readily accessible for students. I wanted to give students more of an opportunity.”
Hunt is looking forward to the implementation of this sustainable initiative on campus. “We want to thank Aramark for working with us on this and allowing the sale of more local and organic food options.”
Students can expect to see a variety of items sold at the farmer’s market such as fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, honey, jewelry and plants. Vendors from the community will be coming to participate in the market along with representatives from the FGCU Food Forest.
If the farmers market is a success, Hunt and Fraser say they would like this to be something that occurs monthly, and then potentially weekly, on campus.
They both agree that student and faculty participation are crucial to making this a success for the future. Fraser said, “Without student support and (them) physically being there, it won’t happen.”
The farmers market will run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. All members of the community are welcome.