Packing the fridge with fresh fruits and veggies just got easier. By popular demand, M Farmers Market is setting up shop weekly this semester to provide fresh options to students.
The first market was held by the fountain outside the Michigan Union on Monday morning. The event featured fresh produce from Zilke Farm, located in Milan, Mich. Each week, the farm provides a selection of produce, and students are able to purchase fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost.
The event also featured a food demonstration led by Frank Turchan, executive chef for Michigan Dining, to exemplify how students can create healthy meals despite their busy schedules.
LSA senior Sushmitha Diraviam, chair of the Health Initiatives Committee for Central Student Government, has been working closely with the committee, as well as MDining, the University of Michigan Health System and University Unions to organize the event.
“It brings a lot of stuff to campus such as local produce, education, sustainability and accessibility of fresh produce,” Diraviam said. “Finding fresh produce on campus is a little bit of a problem and I think this event helps to solve that issue.”
In past years, the M Farmers Market has been held only three times during the fall semester. However, this year, the organizers decided to hold the market weekly.
“It’s specifically due to the demand,” Diravia said. “Having them every week will allow people to know that Mondays are the market days and it’ll get ingrained into people’s heads.”
LSA junior Harrison West walked by the market and stopped to look at the available produce Monday.
“I was walking to go make lunch, when I saw this,” West said. “Fresh food is good, so I thought I’d check it out.”
LSA junior Kelly Rea said she was pleased with her experience at the market.
“It offers a different way to get food outside of dining hall and fast food options,” Rea said.
Engineering freshman Maggie Braunreuther stopped by the event and bought some peaches and plums.
“It’s close to my dorm, so I thought it was great,” Braureuther said. “It gives an opportunity for students to give back to the community and support sustainable foods.”
Alongside the available produce, the market also handed out free bags and T-shirts to students and other shoppers who stopped by the event.
Keith Soster, director of Student Engagement for Michigan Dining, said he believes the markets have been a huge success.
“Students enjoy them, faculty enjoy them and the Zilke’s always bring a variety of goods,” Soster said.
The markets will likely run through the end of October. Soster said he hopes the weekly markets will help build habits of healthy purchasing.
“A lot of students have concerns over access to fresh food, and this is a great way to promote local farms and educate people about what our local farmers have to offer,” Soster said.