Students Feeding Students Farmers Market Promotes Sustainability

Santa Monica College clubs and organizations held the Students Feeding Students Farmers Market this Monday, April 16 at the school's Organic Learning Garden. The market has been a part of SMC's annual Earth week for several years, but has grown to include sustainability initiatives in addition to being a resource for food-insecure students. This year, the market featured a salad-building tutorial, a demonstration of reusable tableware, and a tutorial on how to make "seed bombs," small balls of clay and seeds.

The event is similar to the weekly Corsair Market, a free farmer's market for students that takes place every Wednesday in SMC's Organic Learning Garden. Organic and conventional produce sourced from local food banks and farmers markets is offered in an outdoor setting to any student with a valid A.S. card to take free of charge at both events. But at the Students Feeding Students farmers market, there are also resources for students to figure out what to do once they get that food back to their house.

At a table under a pop-up covering opposite the free produce, volunteers Emi Osake and Arthur Rodriguez demonstrated various healthy salads that could be made with the ingredients that students were picking up. "We’re demoing how to make a salad from all the fresh produce we got from the Farmer’s Market last weekend," Osake said. "We’re just trying to teach people how to make really nutritious food."

Across from the salad pavilion, President of the Plastic Free SMC club Bronwyn Major stood over a large table covered in informational materials, reusable cups, straws, and utensils. Bronwyn said, "I had some examples of different ways that we can be more sustainable by refusing single use plastics and single use items in general and bringing our own."

Bronywn, who helped to organize Students Feeding Students, is proud of her club's work in the past year, saying, "A major initiative that Plastic Free SMC took on this past semester was to get all plastic straws out of the cafeteria - starting today, no vendors in the cafeteria have plastic straws."

Next to Bronwyn's stall, SMC Sustainability Director Alexa Benavente taught attendees how to make seed bombs, small balls of clay containing soil and seeds. The seed bombs contained native flowers, and could be tossed or planted anywhere there is soil. Students were encouraged to take their bombs with them to plant around their neighborhoods.

At the seed bomb booth, Associated Students Vice President-Elect Hesham Jarmakani reflected on Students Feeding Students and other sustainability initiatives at SMC, saying, “I think it’s good that we’re taking initiative to be more green and sustainable. In general, I’ve noticed that Santa Monica College does take initiative when it comes to the environment - I think it’s great that, not only are we preventing negative effects to the environment, we’re also encouraging positive effects."

The Students Feeding Students event this year is supported by Food Forward, a volunteer service that seeks out donations and overflow from local farmers markets, wholesale markets, and backyard fruit trees to provide for food security initiatives like the ones at SMC.