Farmers market brings produce, other items to campus community

Vegetables, herbs and other greens were up for sale by the K-State Farm Club at the Farmers Market in Bosco Plaza on Oct. 26, 2016. (Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

Different clubs and organizations at K-State came together to put on a farmers market at Bosco Student Plaza on Wednesday afternoon. The farmers market began last spring and happens twice a semester.

“It’s four times a year, so in the spring semester it’s March and April and in the fall semester it’s September and October,” Megan Katt, health educator at Lafene Health Center, said. “We chose those kind of warmer months that students are here on campus and it’s always the last Wednesday of those months.”

There are 15 different clubs and two sponsors at the farmers market, the Union Program Council and the Wildcat Wellness Coalition.

“There were a couple of groups that were interested in starting a farmers market on campus so we kind of came together to do it,” Katt said. “The farm club was one of them who wanted to start something so they could sell their produce. And the Wildcat Wellness Coalition, which is who I work for, we were also someone who wanted to start it. We came together and met with UPC, so they are another sponsor along with us and we just kind of made it happen.”

Katt said the farmers market started with about seven or eight vendors and has grown to almost 20 vendors. She said it changes month-to-month depending on student availability because K-State students and faculty are the ones that put it on.

“We are still trying to grow and get the word out,” Katt said.

Erin Bailey, graduate student in horticulture and member of the Student Farm Club, said they sell their produce once a month on campus.

“We could probably do it a little more often with the amount of stuff we can produce, but we also sell to the East and Westside markets,” Bailey said.

The K-State student farm club also sells produce to Derby Dining Center, JP’s Sports Bar and Grill, Little Apple Brewery and other places around town. The members are trying to expand their market for next season.

Kirk Murphy, freshman in construction science and management, said he thinks it’s great to be able to get produce from the farmers market.

“People can see different healthy options and that they are able to do it themselves in a cheaper way,” Murphy said.

Bailey said all produce at the farmers market is grown without chemicals.

“We do not use chemicals. If we do use them, they are plant based and they are organically certified,” Bailey said. “So not to say that it doesn’t happen, but we try to refrain from using anything other than the natural environment to produce our fruits and vegetables.”

Abbie Walker, senior in history and president of the Bakery Science Club, said the Bakery Science Club attended the farmers market as a way to get extra sells. They bake cookies every Tuesday and sell them on Wednesdays on campus.

“This is only our second time coming to the farmers market, but it’s been going really well, so we hope to continue doing it when it starts back up in the spring,” Walker said.

Hannah Smylie, junior in animal science, said the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club members attended to help raise money so they could send people to symposium at the end of the year.

“We are really fundraising and trying to sell our puppy chow to be able to send them to symposium and get as many members to go as we can,” Smylie said.

The K-State transfer student ambassadors were a part of the farmers market to raise money for dinners on transfer days, club polo shirts and other club expenses. The ambassadors were selling cookies and an assortment of holiday treats, as well as cards and Christmas ornaments.

Shaylene Rees, sophomore in psychology, said having so many people at the farmers markets makes it feel homey.

“I like having access to fresh grown produce on campus because my family has a fruit and vegetable farm,” Rees said.

Katt said the variety of items makes the event less like a traditional farmers market.

“We realize that it’s kind of on the brink of a flea market versus a farmers market, but since we only allow K-State students, that’s typically who’s here,” Katt said. “We can’t just have produce because really the only people who grow produce on campus is the farm club. So we opened it up to anything that students make. It’s organizations and it’s individuals.”

Katt also said the farmers market is a way for students and organizations to show off their talents because it’s about the students and their talents.

“Being at K-State there are a lot of different options that you can get involved with and the farmers market is just another way to expose people to different things,” Murphy said.