Alum Rock Farmers’ Market Interview

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Locavore Challenge

Today, I tried to eat only locally grown food. Needless to say, it was very difficult. For lunch, I tried going through local restaurants close to the campus since I have no other way of transportation besides my own feet. While walking down 4th St, I passed by the very well known Mexican restaurant within all the college students named Iguanas. When I asked one of the staff where they get their produce and all their food, I soon found out that none of their ingredients are locally grown or made. However, since I was extremely hungry and their incredibly large burritos looked scrumptious, I failed the locavore challenge. While searching the word “locavore” on Yelp, I found a few places that claimed they only sold food made with local food. These restaurants, however, were very pricey according to the website. One of the restaurants called Valley Plaza Cafe says they “[offer] fresh local produce, pastas, scrumptious sandwiches & innovative dishes from Chef Luis Narvaez.” I would definitely try to eat in this restaurant if it weren’t for its price. Although it is moderate, it would not fit a college student’s budget. When I have the time and money, I will definitely try to do this locavore challenge again. For now, the only locally grown food I will get to have are fruits from Just Below and the eggs from the Dining commons. 

Farmers Market

Local farmers markets in San Jose are in full swing especially this time of year. The Alum Rock Village Farmers’ Market located on 57 N White Rd is open every Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm. Another Farmers Market in Japan Town on Jackson and 6th St, open only this season, takes place every Sunday from 8:30 am to 12 nn.  The WestWind farmers market on 3630 Hillcap Ave is open every weekend from 7 am to 3:30 pm. My partner, Diana Garcia, and I will be going to the Alum Rock Farmers Market this Sunday.

The Locavore Movement

Farmer’s markets are very crucial in saving money and improving local economies. The value of farmers markets is that one, the produce sold there are so much cheaper than super market brands. And second, it helps improve local economy and helps out local farmers. Locally produced fruits and vegetables are so much cheaper than ones bought at the super market because there are no added fees for transportation and handling. Also, the produce is more fresh because they did not come from far away. Products from super markets will not come fresh and cheap mostly because of the lengths these products travel before reaching your super market. The freshness and low cost add value to farmers markets because other super markets will not be able to match these sought after factors when it comes to buying fruits and vegetables.
     February is the last month of winter in California. Due to this, not many fruits and vegetables are really in season. According to the California Availability Guide, vegetables that should be in season in February include asian greens, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, spinach, and squash. Fruits that are in season in February are very few. These are apples, citrus, kiwifruit, pears, and strawberries. 
     The main argument behind eating locally or the locavore movement is that it mainly improves the local economy. By buying produce from local farmers, we contribute to the local economy. When we buy from local farmers markets, farmers sell their produce, making a difference in their livelihood by allowing them to buy other things like better capital or more produce from other farmers which can help them and so on. If we start eating locally, we begin a cycle of continuous buying and selling contained in this one area. By igniting this movement, locavores can improve local economy.  

Urban Growing

Producing locally grown food is not only economically sufficient, it also has the opportunity in improving the city’s communities. As seen in Detroit, growing food in an urban environment revived the city and brought together the once disheveled community. This “quiet revolution” of communities coming together and growing their own products effectively brought together children and adults alike to work for a good cause: building a better neighborhood. Buying and selling locally grown foods also help out local farmers. Although growing some in urban areas is extremely difficult, it is still possible. There are people who use window farms, box plants, even small gardens to name a few. If it is possible in Detroit, it is possible anywhere. Even in urban environments, these locally grown foods can still greatly affect the community economically and help improve the city itself through green programs that rebuild the area. 

Living in a dorm, growing my own plants would be extremely difficult. However, I could use window farms (using used water bottles as plant holders with one pipe distributing water throughout all the plants), use boxes cut in half and fill it with soil, or even put a small planter box by our window. Being a college student with limited time and food source, I would stick to easy plants to grow that are also easy to eat since we are always on the go. Some small, easy plants I could grow can include tomatoes, potatoes and carrots.