Tag Archives: healthy eating

Occupy Your Fridge

The number of farmers markets around the United States has grown in the past few years. CSUN has jumped on board with this new phenomenon, and has extended its contract to continue the weekly farmers market on campus for another year.

“The farmers market here on campus has been so successful with students that I’ve talked to,” Klotz Student Health Center registered dietitian Ellen Bauerfeld said. “They are running over there each Tuesday, and I would say about 90 percent of the students I see shop at the farmers market.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 8,268 farmers markets were operating in the United States in 2014, up 180 percent since 2006.

“There are … farmers markets all over the United States,” said Marvin Halaby, owner of Upper Loveland Farms. “It’s popular everywhere, and  it’s not going to stop.”

Certain factors have contributed to the growing number of farmers markets in the United States. One is the desire to find a sense of community.

“Nobody wants to go to a store anymore and buy a wax apple,” Halaby said. “They want to be in a farmers market environment with their families on a nice day.”

“What you’re looking at is the return of the ‘agri-culture’, the culture that was wrapped up in this [kind of community], that we left in World War II,” L.A Kitchen founder and president Robert Egger said. “An army, for the first time in the world, came home and didn’t go back to the farm. Their grandchildren are now trying to turn the ship around, and find their way back. It’s a really amazing time.”

Another factor is the desire to support local farmers and businesses.

Sales at farmers markets were slightly over $1 billion annually, according to the USDA National Farmer Market Managers Survey.

“For a lot of consumers, local is what they’re looking for,” Egger said. ”This ties into supporting the local economy and supporting the local farmers.”

Many people have become more conscious of what they eat, but experts say it might not be so easy for everyone to start to eating organic produce.

“As a whole, most people don’t want to change their eating habits,” Bauerfield said. “It takes work and it takes commitment.”

“Salt and sugar is crack,” Egger said, “and we’ve  been literally addicted…I defy you to put those Doritos chips away at eleven o’clock at night. That’s by design; there is an addictive quality. We kind of act like it’s a personal choice, [but] it’s harder than hard; these are like cigarettes and we’ve been raised to eat this way.”

Halaby said farmers markets make healthy food affordable for people from all economic backgrounds. Many vendors accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, allowing eligible recipients to use benefits to buy produce.

“It makes it easier for people to come out and use their EBT cards,” he said. “They are able to buy good fruit and vegetables for their families….We try to educate a lot of our customers, and keep them educated, so they can pass [information about nutrition] off to their young ones.”

Bauerfeld said farmers markets have been making a positive impact, especially among younger people, and are here to stay.

“I don’t think it’s a fad,” she said. “I do think it’s a trend, and I think it’s just the beginning of the local food movement. I do see that this population, our students’ population, is craving something different. They’re looking for something different besides fast food, and they are looking for more than just a drive through.”

“More and more, you’re seeing young men and women coming onto campus with a greater palate and a greater expectation of what they want to eat,” Egger said. “Don’t occupy Wall Street; occupy your refrigerator.”



Moderator: AJ Romero

Producer: Rosanna Siracusa

Anchor: Evan Mederos

Reporters: Cyndy Alvarado and Sharon Shin

Social Media Editors: Precious Allen and Kelly Hernandez

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