BY NATALIE ACCARDI
Remember the stand with fruits and veggies right in front of the West Campus? You may not have noticed it as you rushed by, arms filled with textbooks and a hurried prayer for a faster power walk muttered under your breath. It is called the NCC Farmers’ Market and there is a hefty chance that it will not return to our college.
We can blame it on our blind hatred of all things that are healthy or we can call it as it is, you probably did not know it existed until you read this. Although there were a plethora of flyers advertising the NCC Farmers’ Market, I am not sure how many students actually read what is on the bulletin boards at all. For those of you who were aware of this immensely beneficial addition, you should have bought an apple or two.
Ty Griese, interim wellness director and the organizer of the NCC Farmers’ Market, gets the produce from a family-owned farm that has been in business for over 80 years. Our community’s taxpayer dollars support NCC, and likewise we should support local businesses.
Yes, you can get your produce from a grocery store. The NCC Farmers’ Market was probably not your only potential source for fruits and veggies. However, how often do you get groceries? And chances are, if you are a student at a community college, you live at home and the bulk of the grocery shopping falls on your parents. The NCC Farmers’ Market put you in direct contact with healthier food options and without it, that access is drastically limited.
Although the stereotype of the college student whose primarily fuel is Ramen and energy drinks has been debunked, the eating habits of college students are not exactly exemplary.
According to the 2014 study published by the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, by researchers from Oregon State University, the Benton County Health Department and Western Oregon University, 59 percent of college students are “food insecure”. Food insecurity is defined as limited access to foods that are healthy and safe, and a limited ability to get the food in ways that are acceptable. The removal of the NCC Farmers’ Market is contributing to the food insecurity that plagues college students.
Our student population only represents a sliver of the total number of college students in the U.S., but our lack of healthier food options reflects the dismal emphasis on health in our country.
A study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, an academic medical center composed of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medical Group and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, found that 95 percent of college students do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies. The study shows that even if there is access to healthier food options, most college students are not filling up their plate with greens.
We cannot force people to eat fruits and veggies, but at least the NCC Farmers’ Market gave students the option to improve their diet. Unfortunately, the only thing the market grew was fresh produce-the environment of the NCC community proved to be a hostile one for profitability.
As author Alice Waters once said, “Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education.”
A lack of a market leads to an infertile education.