Rachel dancer | For the Pitt News
Between bowls of ramen noodles, countless cups of Starbucks and the occasional rampant shake of The milkshake factory, Fresh produce is not typically found on a college student’s plate. But the Pitt farmers market just got the cure for the student diet slump.
Pitt community members can meet grocery vendors from local farms and restaurants in William Pitt Union Plaza every Thursday from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm through October 28th to share their groceries with hungry Pitt students. The market offers everything from fresh tomatoes to fruit cakes to Chicken on a stick.
Everyone from students to faculty to members of the local community is welcome to browse and shop for a wide variety of produce and groceries. Many of the stalls offer produce from nearby farms outside of town and are accompanied by food trucks from Pittsburgh.
Molly Latinova, a local saleswoman How’s bakery, said she remembered the meal menu at her college and always noticed the lack of choices for most students.
“When I was a college student, I didn’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Latinova said. “I would have loved it.”
Latinova said the benefits of healthy eating and good nutrition for college students fuel the need for farmers’ markets on campus.
“It can help you just feel better and be healthier,” said Latinova. “It definitely has to be on every campus.”
According to Latinova, the farmers market gives students access to healthier, fresher options and allows students to connect with their food and become familiar with its origins.
“I think it’s great that people have a connection with their food,” said Latinova. “You can eat seasonally, you can eat much more local and not have traveled nearly as far.”
According to Nick Goodfellow, sustainability coordinator at Pitt, all of the food at the farmers’ market comes from local farms.
“Southwest Pennsylvania has a strong local food system,” said Goodfellow. “We have a variety of Pennsylvania farm products.”
Sourcing fresh foods like fruits and vegetables can be a daunting task for Pitt students on a concrete-enclosed campus. Goodfellow said he believes the farmers market is an important opportunity for students as it gives students access to fresh food and produce on campus.
“It’s really important to bring sustainability and agriculture to campus,” said Goodfellow. “And farmers markets are a great way to do this on campus and in urban settings.”
The Pitt. not only brings fresh products to an urban campus, but The farmers market also strives for zero waste. Buyers are advised to bring reusable bags as single-use plastic bags are prohibited. All food must also be served in compostable containers.
In a community as large and urban as Oakland, Goodfellow says events like the Farmers Market are beneficial for building sustainability. He said sustainability is defined as providing for people both now and in the future, which amounts to the daily endeavors of the community.
“The University of Pittsburgh defines sustainability as balancing equity, the environment and the economy so that current and future generations can thrive,” said Goodfellow. “It’s really about community – it’s about getting everyone involved.”
Logan Dimpel, a sophomore graduate student in nutrition and dietetics, said she thought the market was a great way to bring fresh food to campus and for students to engage with local agriculture.
“There aren’t a lot of green spaces on campus, so I think it’s good to bring the vegetables and greens back to Pitt,” said Dimpel. “It shows that Pitt is more than just Oakland. It gives people experience of what goes beyond Pitt. “
Connecting the Pitt community with the local Pittsburgh food community is just another benefit of the farmers market, Goodfellow said, and enables students to find out where their food is coming from.
“It enables students, faculty and staff to support these small local food systems and these small local businesses by buying direct from the farmer,” said Goodfellow. “And really find out how much blood, sweat and tears it took to get this product from the semen into your reusable bag.”