May 25, 2019

Fresno State SDA promotes healthy lifestyle through on campus farmer’s market

Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

Students will have the opportunity to grab a peach on their way to the library next Thursday as the Fresno State Student Dietetics Association holds a farmer’s market to promote health and wellness to students on campus.

The farmer’s market, held every Thursday, is a place where students, faculty and staff can purchase healthy snacks and learn about healthier eating habits. The farmer’s market aims to educate about disease prevention, diabetes and obesity awareness, reading food labels, BMI status, learning the difference between good fat versus bad fat and much more.

The SDA began the on-campus farmer’s market in 2008. Club members volunteer their efforts by selling fruits and vegetables from the Rue and Gwen Gibson Market, all while educating about the importance of healthy eating habits.

Dr. Lisa Herzig, the SDA’s advisor, is proud of the SDA farmer’s market’s success and its positive influence on the Fresno State community.

“We are trying to provide healthy on-the-go snacks that students can get on the way to class and have something healthy to eat,” Herzig said. “It has evolved into not just selling the product,
but also providing nutrition education.”

Herzig stressed that the farmer’s market is a collaborative effort between the SDA, the Fresno State Nutrition Department, the Rue and Gwen Gibson Market, and the Student Health Center.

“This is all a product of positive collaboration. Students are responsible for getting products from the farmer’s market, and they bring it onto campus in order for it to be available to students,”
Herzig said. “I think President Welty is a big proponent of collaboration here in the university. It’s made a name for the SDA and the nutrition department here at Fresno State.”

Herzig explained that the SDA’s main goal is to educate students on the importance of understanding nutritional values.

“For example, the students provide the grapes and go on to explain why they want you to have them,” Herzig said. “We provide the why to the how. It’s credible information, it’s science based, it’s evidence based. The students get to take what they learn in school and practice it in real life.”

Alaina Loomis, the SDA president, is passionate about the club’s efforts. “As dietetic and nutrition students, we believe it is important to have a farmer’s market on campus every week to help connect the Fresno State community with healthy snack options like fresh fruits and vegetables, calcium- rich and vitamin D fortified milk, healthy nuts and raisins and much more as healthier alternatives to eating on the go,” Loomis said.

Loomis’ goal is to expand the farmer’s market into a huge event on campus.

“We are busy during the time we are open, but we know we can reach out to more of the students, faculty and staff,” Loomis said. She hopes gain more attention to the farmer’s market by relocating to the Free Speech Area on campus, and by working with the Student Recreation Center to promote their cause.

Jia Lu, SDA member and Farmer’s market coordinator, explained that she and her fellow club members understand how it may be difficult for busy college students to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s really fun. We are giving the general members of our club an opportunity to volunteer at the farmer’s market and talk about what like to do. Our club mission is to promote health and wellness on campus from this farmer’s market,” Lu said.

The SDA farmer’s market is held every Thursday between the Henry Madden Library and the University Student Union from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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