A Fruit Roll-Up and a bag of potato chips do not count as part of the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Unfortunately, that is a typical meal for a lot of on-the-go college students.
In an effort to promote healthier eating habits on campus, the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market at Fresno State opened its first of many produce booths in the Free Speech Area yesterday.
Everything from milk to almonds and grapes were displayed for students and visitors to purchase while student assistants were on hand to provide nutritional information and healthy cooking tips.
According to Jennifer Sobieralski, manager of Gibson Farm Market, people can be sure that the products are high quality because they are processed and grown locally by students specializing in either agriculture or nutrition. The booth will be open every Tuesday during the fall semester to sell the latest stock.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to encourage a healthy eating snack option in a quick way that students can come through . . .and grab what they need to get,â€ Sobieralski said. â€œIt can be a small package of almonds which is a good serving size.â€
University President John Welty was on hand yesterday as well to commemorate the new booth that he hoped would become a lasting tradition. He was confident that it would help increase awareness of good eating habits while benefiting the universityâ€™s many agricultural programs.
â€œIt goes far beyond just the produce,â€ Sobieralski added. â€œThere really is a big learning environment over in the store.â€
A healthy education
Keryn Nicholson, was one of several student assistants operating the booth yesterday in service of the Student Dietetic Association, a student organization committed to preparing members for careers in food science and related fields.
Nicholson, a senior in nutrition and dietetics pointed out that most college students â€œdonâ€™t know what appropriate serving sizes are.â€ She said this is one of the leading weaknesses in the average studentâ€™s diet.
While Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) Day was going on in the Free Speech area yesterday, a majority of the crowds were huddled around the Gibson Farm booth to sample the various items on display.
â€œIt looks like they have a lot of good products that are healthy for you,â€ said Marilyn Santos, a criminology senior. â€œYou know instead of going to Taco Bell you might as well get some fruit or some grapes cause theyâ€™re really delicious.â€
Santos purchased a bag of grapes for $2 that she described as â€œmassive.â€ Meanwhile, peaches were sold at two for a dollar. The booth will also sell milk and dried fruit throughout the fall semester.
Booth latest Farm Market expansion
While a modest amount of the proceeds on products sold through the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market are necessary to sustain the store, about 90 percent goes back to the departments that provided them. Sobieralski said the university was able to afford $2 million on farm equipment thanks in part to the market.
The Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market â€” formerly known as the Fresno State Farm Market â€” first began as a simple fruit and vegetable stand on the corner of Chestnut and Barstow.
Now, Fresno State currently sponsors 20 different enterprises in dairy, livestock and produce that are represented in the market.
Among some of the more popular items in the market are apples, which will be in season until December, and peaches, which will be available until November.
Information on products and events held by the market can be found at FresnoStateFarmMarket.com.
The Gibson Farm Market is offering healthy alternatives to student lunches every Tuesday.
â€¢ Dried fruit
â€¢ Apples, oranges, mandarins and other citrus fruits coming in November