By: Robert Rios, News Editor
The future of the CSUDH farmers market may be clearer after today’s Academic Senate meeting as Sustainability Coordinator Ellie Perry will give a report on campus measures to promote sustainability, including whether to continue hosting the market, which began last semester.
Perry’s presentation will touch on what sustainability is and how it can be better integrated into the rhythm of campus life. The CSUDH Sustainability Office, is charged with reducing the campus’ carbon footprint in ways ranging from reducing waste and conserving water, to making the campus more energy-efficient and getting students more engaged in “going green” initiatives. It also oversees the campus’ urban farm and the Farmers Market.
The market, which is open every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden, was unveiled last semester with the intention to offer the CSUDH community, as well as the surrounding area, healthier food alternatives. However, based on last
last semester and the first half of this semester, Perry said it may not be viable for vendors to continue selling their products.
If it does not return in 2020, this will be the second market near the campus to go under due to low attendance and low sales for the businesses.
“This semester [the venders] said the first week they did really well and then foot traffic has decreased since then,” Perry said.
While the intention of the maket was to get fresh produce and other healthy food on campus, Perry said that the vendors’ bottom line is also important.
“I was shocked to learn the farmers only makes on average $100 per market,” Perry said.
Some of the vendors have already decided to leave the market, which also includes some fruits and vegetables farmers who have been coming and going. This is important, Perry said, because people who come to the market with a California SNAP card can use it to only buy produce.
Some vendors said they believe a change might improve foot traffic. Currently, the market is located in the Sculpture Garden.
“[Business] is not as great as I wanted it to be but it’s going pretty good,” Erick Baranco, the owner of Claritea, which sells organic loose leaf teas and herbs said. “I would probably change the location because I feel like right here there is not that much foot traffic.”
Baranco said he’d return next semester if the market was still here but “if it’s in the same location, I wouldn’t.”
Some students interviewed Tuesday said they had become regular patrons of the market due to the diverse options vendors bring, and would be disappointed if it did not return.
“Yes, I would be bummed if the market disappeared,” said Hector Velasquez, a senior majoring in political science. “This market provides students the ability to try something that [is different] compared to what they usually do. Most people on [campus] buy Panda or Subway, but this market allows them to get fresh produce and get fun snacks.”
Perry said the future of the market hinges largely on location, and hopes to move it in time for next semester. A possible option is to move it to the west walkway, closer to the library and LSU. However, that will take negotiating, Perry said, due to fire code regulations and moving there would necessitate the charge vendors to sell their wares.
The Senate meeting will be held at 3 p.m.