Food For All Market

On November 9th, the Student Farmers’ Market held a Food For All Market with an attempt to address the stigma on hunger around campus. UMass Permaculture, the Food For All Program, and the Student Farm teamed up to organize this exciting Market, which featured a fresh and canned food drive, opportunities to engage in conversation with knowledgeable students about local food security, and information about resources available on campus and in the area for people experiencing food insecurity.  

Over 200 lbs of butternut, leeks, potatoes, kale, and other fresh produce was donated to the Amherst Survival Center and Not Bread Alone during the market’s fresh food drive. The Student Farm encouraged customers to “Buy one, Give one,” where they would buy twice as much as they needed for themselves and donate the extra.  They also asked their 115 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members to donate produce that they could spare from their share that week to the food drive. Most of fresh food donated was provided by Student Farm CSA members. Canned food donations were brought to the Student Food Pantry on campus.   

Throughout the market, community members talked about food recovery and food access over free soup and cider. UMass Permaculture provided free sweet potato soup using gleaned sweet potatoes from Czajkowski Farm in Hadley and fresh pressed apple cider with Student Farm and Cold Spring Orchard apples. The Food For All Program handed out the rest of the sweet potatoes their practicum class had gleaned together a few weeks before for free along with free butternut squash donated by the Student Farm. 

Dan Bensonoff, UMass Permaculture, serves free gleaned sweet potato soup. 
Liam Davis and Courtney Spera admire the work of their peers before the market begins.

Food For All also set up a booth with a detailed map of the food system displayed next to a poster listing all of the resources available for students and community members to access free food on campus and in the area. Student Farmer Jordan Lake created a zine that compiled all of the resources available on campus that were handed out for free throughout the market as well. Food For All students conversed with market-goers and invited them to ask themselves what they could do to support their food insecure peers. 

Kayleigh Boucher (right), program manager of Food For All, helps a community member sort through gleaned sweet potatoes to take home. 

Most people are surprised by the high rates of food insecurity on this campus but up to 23% of undergraduate students and 26% of graduate students cut or skipped a meal because they didn’t have enough money to buy food (Clark & Harris, 2015). It is vitally important that we keep talking about food access, work to reduce the stigma around hunger, stand up for each others’ right to food, and keep everybody fed!

— Some simple ways that anyone can help: 
— Share the food resources that are available and distribute that information through any channels that you have access to by checking out this website.  
Download the Food For All Zine and distribute widely!  
— Include resources or the Food For All Zine on campus on your syllabus (or ask your professors to).  
— If you have a meal plan, join the Need a Swipe? Got a Swipe? Facebook page and post when you have extra swipes and dining dollars to share! 

–Sign up to help the Food Recovery Network donate food from the Dining Commons to local relief organization Craig’s Doors. 
— Volunteer or donate shelf-stable food items to the Student Food Pantry on campus and spread the word to people you know about their new location and hours.

For a list of available food resources on and off campus, or to download the Food For All Zine, click here! 
Endless gratitude to Food For All students Kayleigh Boucher, Melissa Bonaccorso, Braeden Leinhart, Courtney Spera, Jackie Williams, Alex Androsko, and Liam Davis, as well as Student Farmers Avi Flynn, Jordan Lake, Lee Mcloughlin, Carly Brand, and Jackie Montminy, who made this event happen.