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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Food fair focuses on local farming

The local co-op and two student organizations are hosting a fair this week to educate NMU students about farming in the U.P.

The Local Food and Farm Fair will be held Wednesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the University Center. The event will be sponsored by the Marquette Food Co-op, Students for Sustainable Living and the Environmental Science Organization.

Marquette residents peruse the fresh produce of local farm Seeds and Spores at a farmers market last summer. // Photo provided by Sarah Monte

There will be a variety of local farmers and Marquette Food Co-op employees giving out information and presenting about locally grown foods. There will also be market masters, who each run a different farmers market in the U.P., presenting at the event. The event will educate students and about the benefits of local foods and where they can purchase them. Sarah Monte, one of the event organizers, is the education and publications coordinator at the Marquette Food Co-op. Monte said that college is a great time to start supporting local farmers.

“College is the first time most students actually get the chance to think about their food. They’re living out on their own and shopping for themselves,” she said. “With this event, we hope to get students on the right track and help them buy locally.”

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Monte said that students will be able to talk with the farmers and market masters about local food, how it is grown and how to get it. Monte said that eating healthy foods is important for everyone, even cash-strapped students.

“Eating healthy food is the most important thing you can do for yourself,” Monte said. “We always talk about the high cost of healthcare, but the cheapest way to take care of yourself is by eating healthy foods. By coming out and meeting the farmers, you can learn how their food is grown and get the opportunity to put the face of a local farmer to the food you are buying.”

Monte said that there is a big difference between the foods available at local farmers markets and the Marquette Food Co-op and those found at the conventional grocery store.

“Something that’s shipped in from Mexico and sits on a shelf for days doesn’t taste the same as something locally grown,” she said. “Even though it might be a little more expensive, the farmers markets are a great deal. They provide quality and an experience.”

Zach Bartel, president of the Environmental Science Organization at NMU, said buying local produce is an easy way for students to have a positive effect on the environment.

“Unlike other issues that are really complicated, like water pollution and global warming, it’s easy for people to understand how they can make a difference with this issue,” he said. “No one person is going to solve those crises, but everyone can make a difference in their community by buying local products.”

Rowan Bunce, a local farmer who started Rock River Farm in Chatham, Mich., will be at the event. Bunce started his farm at a young age and said that other young people can do the same.

“Farming is a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” he said. “There is a business niche out there for local farmers. Most people my age have no idea how to get a farm going or how to get funding. This event is going to be an opportunity for me to tell people how I did it and how they can make it happen.”

Bunce said that it is important for communities to have local farms to buy from.

“I started my farm because I wanted premium, fresh food,” he said. “Now my community can have the same. I hope NMU students who come to this latch on to the idea and spread it to where they are from. The more people out there providing these foods, the easier it will be for everyone to get them.”

At the event, students will be able to ask individual questions of farmers and market masters and can get advice about how to prepare healthier food. The farmers will also have information about possible internships and jobs.

For more information about the Local Food and Farm Fair, contact Sarah Monte at 225-0671, extension 23.

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