To celebrate the season of giving, the Sustainable Development Student Alliance rounded up local artisans and businesses along with usable food collected on campus to encourage students to waste less and give more.
Amelia Chedister, junior sustainable development major and social chair of SDSA, said the event serves as a win-win for businesses and students. Businesses can pull in new customers, causing students to invest in the local economy.
“When our money is put into local businesses, it strengthens the whole community. It connects us with not only the economic side of the business, but also the land,” Chedister said. “This food was grown here or made here or these awesome artisanal things were made right here.”
In the “Food Fiasco” area, abandoned care packages are sorted and given to passing students for free. Chedister said food insecurity exists at App State and SDSA combats it through the markets they host.
“We want to expose and educate students to the amount of food waste and help them to recognize that there’s a very unjust system of food,” Weston Medlock, senior sustainable development major and SDSA president, said. “We waste so much food and we always talk about feeding the hungry while we have enough food to feed everyone on this earth.”
Enough food is globally produced to feed the entire population, but poverty and hunger go hand-in-hand, according to World Economic Forum. Most of the poor population of the world lives in rural areas where incomes tend to be lower. If incomes were raised in these areas and food waste would lessen, everyone in the world could have three meals each day.
While trying to eliminate food insecurity and create business for local artisans, the fall farmers’ market creates a sense of community.
Diana “Dee” Godwin, retired professor of App State and owner of Mountain Flower Bakery, said she enjoys showcasing her business to students on and off-campus with her partner Richard Easley. Godwin said she’s made friends with students and other vendors in the Watauga area.
“I was kind of lonely when I left the university, but when I jumped into this sustainable, local food economy, I mean it’s amazing,” Godwin said. “It’s an entire community and people really support each other.”
Godwin said what she loves the most about the farmers’ markets hosted by SDSA are the smiling faces that pass by her shop and chat.
SDSA hopes to continue to spread the value of recycling and giving through their nonprofit route in the years to come.
Story by Emily Broyles
Photo by Dallas Linger
Featured photo caption: Seasonal vegetables for sale at the Farmer’s Market.