Most people don't realize it, but according to Maren Poitras, a leader of the Sustainability Team (STEAM) at the UC Berkeley college students usually don't have any greater awareness of where their food comes from than elementary students do. Of course, she's aiming to change all that at Berkeley along with the rest of the students on STEAM by running a weekly market known as "The Local" that brings locally grown, organic, sustainable foods onto campus.
Recently, the organic red Russian kale from Blue Heron Farm was selling for $1 a bunch. Cherry tomatoes from Full Belly were going for $2 a pint. And Kaki's satsuma tangerines could be had for $2.50 a pound. Meaning students can definitely afford to eat green while learning something at the same time, even though a wholesale price means this is all on a volunteer basis.
But it should definitely help raise awareness of the realities of the food chain that ends up on campus. According to student Dana Flett who grew up on an 80 acre farm, "It was interesting to come here and see how detached people are from the food chain. It's amazing to hear that most people had never met a farmer."
"When I was a kid, I had no concept of seasons," said Ryan Cole, a sophomore from San Diego. "I got used to having an avocado all year round. But avocadoes don't grow all year round."
And I agree all that's true enough, but we'll have to see how long selling produce without profit will remain sustainable for the very decent, well-intentioned, and cool people behind "The Local".