During Earth Week Bellevue College organized various events including the annual farmers’ market.
Stands offered a wide variety of fresh vegetables, such as squash, beets and leeks, and vendors with products like fresh honey and handmade beeswax candles from Tolt River Farm and Craft, located in Carnation. There were also gluten-free baked goods for sale.
The Student Garden also had a stand at the market. A product of sustainability initiatives at Bellevue College, the garden club tends to the growing beds by the greenhouse that aren’t used by botany classes. Much of what they produce is donated to the food banks of organizations such as Hope Link.
The Garden group had kale, marigold and black cherry tomatoes for sale, among other things. Next to the Student Garden table was an educational exhibit on composting, presented by Seattle Tilth and Master Recycler Composter Eastside.
Students like Emily Meboe and Chiara Zanatta-Kline expressed favor for the farmers’ market, though they suggested some additions as well.
Meboe said, “I like the idea of the farmers’ market. It definitely has promise to become something great if more local sources put into it.” She also said that the possibility of adding live music and a sno-cone stand was appealing.
Zanatta-Kline mentioned that at other farmers’ markets she had previously attended, food trucks were a big hit. She said it “would be a fantastic thing to have for students to grab a bite to eat at before they run off to their next class. I would definitely go to the market if there were more food options.” She also included that she wished there had been a stand selling fresh flowers and bouquets.
Running Start student, Helen Kuni, however, disagreed with the idea, saying “though the thought itself is good, I feel like the idea of a farmers’ market on campus could cause some issues. While yes, some students can buy food right after class on their way to the next one, it takes away from the learning environment. If they are going to make it a regular thing, they should have it be closer to the weekend, like on a Thursday or Friday.”
The ASG Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative, Lana Mack, helps to run the farmers’ market. Her favorite vendor was present selling gluten-free baked goods, a commodity that she feels is rather undersold at Bellevue College.
Mack also said that the excess food from the Student Garden stand that went unsold was donated to Hope Link Bellevue. Looking towards the future of the farmers’ market, Mack said that she would love to have there be more publicity about it, and for more vendors to get involved and attend, and also have there be more publicity about the event.
Overall the farmers’ market was well-received by students and the idea of having the market at Bellevue College more frequently held appeal for many students, especially if it was expanded to have more local businesses partake.
“I think the farmers’ market could really bring the students, staff and faculty together in a beneficial way,” Meboe said.
Students see the farmers’ market as an event that has a lot of untapped potential. If the market were to expand they hope that it will be a more social environment rather than simply a bunch of stores to stop by and check out before continuing on their way. Many look forward to the return of the farmers’ market, whether it is in a year, or returns to campus sooner.