Trinity University is launching a new farmers market on campus, starting March 26, that aims to connect students and community members with fresh food and local goods. Students will use the market for educational purposes, but customers can expect to see farmers, ranchers, and other local entrepreneurs with products each Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Market plans were set in motion after Trinity received a $99,932 grant from the Farmers Markets Promotion Program through the USDA. Most of those funds will be used for marketing and business development for the market itself and the attending vendors.
Other universities, like Rice, Harvard and Emory all have sponsored farmers markets. Trinity is the first university affiliated market in San Antonio.
Although students are unlikely to purchase much from the food providers themselves because of the university’s required student meal plan through Aramark, they will be working directly with vendors through internships and class projects.
The market will also feature outreach booths on wellness, gardening, and fitness programs including student groups and exercise programs like yoga through Mobile Om and Zumba. Trinity is looking to leverage its educational roots to begin teaching attendees from the entire city as well as its students.
Student Market Manager Hayley Sayrs, who helped write the initial grant, is excited about seeing how her fellow students will use the opportunity.
“We are currently working to empower students and community members to make healthy choices while also engaging in a market that is economically supportive of local growers and environmentally sustainable practices,” she said.
Students from all different academic backgrounds have come together to make the market a reality. Sayrs, who has a background in biology and environmental studies, worked closely with Christina Verzijl a 2014 graduate in psychology to make the market happen. The market’s internships will draw from all different departments. Luis Martinez, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, also played an integral role serving as the conduit between the administration and students.
“The whole project was driven by student interest and faculty/staff support,” Martinez said. “They were looking for ways to connect directly to the community in a way that we haven’t ever done before. It turned out to be a big endeavor, engaging with local entrepreneurs and the neighborhood in a totally new way for us.”
Trinity’s inaugural market will take place on the north side of campus, on the green space and parking lot just next to the library. The best parking for off-campus market-goers is through Stadium Drive at the parking lot close to the library.
For the first Saturday, there will be extra programming and features like music from Trinity’s radio station KRTU. Food trucks and exercise programs will be in full swing– all in view of students and vendors.
“We can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working on,” Martinez added. “Connecting sustainability and education for students and the community is going to be a real treat for all of us.”
*Top Image: Trinity Market will be open Saturday mornings, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Image Courtesy of Trinity University.