October 20, 2015


Throughout the summer and fall, there aren't too many things better than getting your fruits and veggies fresh from the farm.

Students at Central Michigan University thought they should have easy access to that fresh produce while on campus.

So, they set up CMU's first student-run farmer's market. The market had five vendors set up for the first market, and the students are excited to see it continue to grow and promote community interaction.

"The college kids really took some initiative to put this together, and they're great people to hang around, and they keep you young," said Bill Miller Jr., the owner of Papa's Pumpkin Patch and a vendor at the market.

"We have kettle corn, soap, eggs, apple cider, and then all of our produce," said Tyler Goudreau, a Campus Grow member. "I just think it's really cool and I think it's really important for people to learn to help support their local community and their local economy."

The market is the idea of the registered student organization "Campus Grows", who teamed up with the non-profit Real Food Grows, Inc.

"We spent the entire summer working through the university system, gaining the approvals that we needed, and everywhere we went we got a lot of enthusiasm from the staff and the administration," said Damian Fisher, the CEO of Real Food Grows, Inc.

The groups joined with University Events, and things have taken off.

"There's a lot that this community has to offer," Goudreau said. "I think that this could help bring students outside of the CMU campus limits and maybe get them integrated in the community."

Vendors say they love the interaction they get with the students and like talking farming with them.

"College kids are very knowledgeable," Miller said. "They like to eat good food and they are concerned about chemicals and the other things that are used, and much of our food comes from other parts of the world and who knows what's in them, or on them, or how they grow them. So they like the local sources."

In regards to concerns about competing with the city's market, organizers say there's plenty of business for local farmers and there's a lot more to it than just money.

"It's about community, getting to know your neighbor," Fisher said. "And having an event to come to, a place to congregate. Every one of the people that come to a farmer's market engages with the farmers, engages with the vendors, and they develop that relationship - and that's what we're doing out here."

The market will be open until the end of October, and the students are already looking toward next year.