March 17, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Solving the fresh food problem

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To the Editor:

Re: “Call for a Collegetown Grocer,” Opinion, March 16

We, too, want eggplants. We also want kale and apple cider doughnuts and cheese — and we want them locally sourced. Fundamentally, we believe students should have access to fresh, local foods … without a two-hour TCAT journey. We are a group of students working collaboratively to establish an on-campus farmers market.  Since fall 2010, we have been working in collaboration with different student organizations, we hope to work together with local farmers and business owners to bring vendors to campus once a week.

Having an on-campus farmers market can completely transform an element of the Cornell experience. Not only is Ithaca surrounded by farms and local foods enthusiasts, but Bon Appétit named it one of America’s Foodiest Towns in 2010. Yet Cornell students are disconnected from this movement. Yes, through the Cornell Dining Local Foods Advisory Council, students, chefs and administrators collaborate to bring local foods to our dining halls, but for those who live off campus, enjoy cooking or don’t have a meal plan, such efforts are not enough.

Our ultimate goal is to create a link between Cornell students and the surrounding agricultural community on campus.  Cornell brands itself as the only Ivy with an ag school, yet Harvard, Yale and Brown all boast established farmers markets. We aren’t trying to compete or replace the Ithaca Farmers Market by any means – we are simply trying to make such foods more convenient and accessible for students.

We want to create a sustainable enterprise for generations of future Cornellians and Ithaca alike. We want to better integrate Cornell within the greater Ithaca community, but to accomplish such goals, we will need ample support from students, administrators and vendors. Group members are applying for grants, looking to organize and begin the Market as early as Orientation Week. If you have suggestions, criticisms or concerns, let us know. If you echo our sentiments, join the movement.

Audrey Boochever ’13, James Critelli ’13 and Daniel Green ’12