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Retherford's Village Produce road stand in Benton, Pa., offers fresh fruits and vegetables well into fall. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)

In the market for a farmer’s market

Fresno State should institute an outdoor farmer’s market during the warmer months.

We live in the agricultural basket of the nation. Why don’t we showcase this on our campus through the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables during the spring and summer months?

There are three benefits to Fresno State instituting a farmer’s market.

Chiefly, it would showcase student success and talent. Our agriculture students are some of the most talented in the CSU and UC system as they learn to grow and harvest many of the fresh foods that are sold in stores across The Valley. Granted, we have the Gibson Farm Market, but that is not the same as a bimonthly event where students come together to sell their goods. It could be an opportunity similar to Vintage Days, but on a smaller scale.

Which segways into the next reason why Fresno State should have a farmer’s market – it would engage the community. Ag students wouldn’t be the only people participating, clubs and campus organizations could take turns running booths and tabling. Students participating would benefit from revenue, the community at large would receive fresh food and see what their local university is capable of producing.

The Old Town Clovis Market has a huge following in this area, and the same thing could be done at Fresno State. It could be set up exactly where Vintage Days is, and would encourage the community to come on campus during the summer, when the campus is least active. It would be a great way to create synergy with the growers in the valley, the students on campus and the Fresno area at large.

The third reason is that our campus is a barren wasteland of food. The options on campus are mediocre and massively unhealthy. Bringing a farmer’s market to campus would help students keep fresh food in their diet. Other universities have small grocery stores on campus, or fresh fruit and veggie stands. But Fresno State, one of the biggest ag schools in California, does not have an on-campus market for students to buy fresh and healthy food.

Having a farmer’s market taking a healthy direction could also give the students in the nutrition and culinology fields on campus to get real life experience either teaching market-goers about fresh food or showing them recipes involving the food being sold onsite.

An outdoors farmer’s market is so right for Fresno State. It is needed, it is wanted and it would be appreciated by the entire community.