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First farmer’s market of the year brings fresh frood directly to UCLA students

First-year applied mathematics student Aileen Qin and first-year mathematics/economics student Justin Wu pick out organic peaches from a display at a farmer’s market in Bruin Plaza on Tuesday. The market was put on by Ecology, Economy, Equity, a club at UCLA , also known as E3.

By Nikki Somani

Oct. 10, 2012 1:40 a.m.

Taking a break during their daily walk to and from campus, students paused briefly at Bruin Plaza to get their fix of fresh produce, from bright orange peppers to green cucumbers to ripe red tomatoes.

Amid the setup stood fifth-year art and anthropology student Rebecca Klapper, clutching a bag that held a pomegranate, a pluot ““ a type of plum ““ and a fuji apple she had just purchased from the farmer’s market.

Held Tuesday, the event featured food items from three vendors. It was organized by the student group Ecology, Economy, Equity, the Undergraduate Students Association Council General Representative 2 Office and Associated Students UCLA.

“I’ve never actually been to the farmer’s market here so I wanted to check it out and see,” Klapper said.

Tuesday’s market was the fourth event of its kind at UCLA, said Jasneet Bains, a fourth-year environmental science student and co-chairs of Ecology, Economy, Equity.

The idea started when Emily Resnick, last year’s USAC president, was a general representative two years ago, said Carly Yoshida, USAC general representative 2.

“Our focus is bringing fresh organic produce,” Yoshida said. “The whole point is to give students and faculty and staff the opportunity to make healthy meals.”

The farmer’s markets used to be held in De Neve Plaza, but shifted to Bruin Plaza last year as a way to reach students and faculty who live off campus and typically don’t pass through the Hill, Bains said.

“We wanted to cater to off-campus residents who don’t have foods ready to eat,” she said.

The produce at the market came directly from vendors, cutting out the middleman, Yoshida said.

“There’s a lot of little details for putting together this type of event,” Bains said.

Organizers used last year’s market as a guideline, but also visited other markets in the Los Angeles area, such as the one held in Santa Monica, to find vendors for the campus farmer’s market and to see how the markets were run, Bains said.

Organizers needed to obtain permits from the County of Los Angeles before putting on the market, Yoshida said.

Amber Murakami-Fester, third-year comparative literature student, was on her way back from class when she came across the farmer’s market. She bought a couple of cucumbers and said she planned to make a salad when she got to her apartment that evening.

The farmer’s market at UCLA was convenient, and seeing the vendors interact with students reminded her of where the food was coming from, Murakami-Fester said.

Ecology, Economy, Equity, ASUCLA and USAC plan to hold about seven total farmer’s markets this year, Bains said.

With contributing reports from Naheed Rajwani, Bruin senior staff.

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Nikki Somani
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