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Monday, April 15, 2024

UC Davis Farmers Market concludes spring season

The campus location experienced a slump in sales this quarter, according to Randii MacNear, the Davis Farmers Market Alliance executive director

 

By ISABELLA KRZESNIAK campus@theaggie.org

 

The UC Davis Farmers Market, located at the West Quad, concluded its spring 2022 season on May 18. Similar to the Central Park location, this farmers market has produce vendors and features tabling from programs like Healthy Aggies and UC Davis Sustainability. 

This quarter, the campus farmers market experienced a slump in sales, according to Randii MacNear, the executive director of the Davis Farmers Market Alliance. MacNear estimated that the traffic flow at the Quad was 25% of what it used to be, and said that this could be due to heavy class scheduling around noon, which coincides with the time at which the market is open.

“We used to have a lot more staff, students and professors that came out,” MacNear said.

Linda Adams, a registered dietitian who works with MacNear to organize the UC Davis Farmers Market, attributes the decrease in sales to inflation and remote work.

“I think that sales are down because there are fewer people working on campus and costs are escalating everywhere,” Adams said. “I can see how [inflation] can have an impact on people’s buying habits, and I think it’s just the perfect storm of a lot of things happening.”

The slump in sales stands in contrast to fall quarter, which Adams described as a fruitful season for the campus location.

“Fall of 2021, as far as I know, was a very good season for the market,” Adams said. “[MacNear] had no problem with sales and it was the best market she’d seen on campus.”

The UC Davis Farmers Market is primarily organized by the UC Davis staff and faculty for the Health and Well Being program in conjunction with the Davis Farmers Market, and was one of the first farmers markets on a college campus. ASUCD originally introduced the idea of hosting a farmers market on campus in 2003. 

“At that time, we weren’t actively looking to bring a farmers market onto campus, but the students in ASUCD reached out to us and asked if we’d consider it,” MacNear said. “It made perfect sense.”

However, ASUCD concluded that the project would not be financially feasible under student leadership alone. It wasn’t until 2006 that the UC Davis Farmers Market would be established through collaboration between multiple campus departments.

According to MacNear, the pandemic has had a mixed effect on farmers markets in Davis. On one hand, she believes that it has solidified its customer base for the Central Park location.

“COVID has actually helped and cemented the attendance of university students because they had a time where [going to the farmer’s market] was the only thing that a lot of people could do and feel safe,” MacNear said. “It was like, ‘I don’t want to go inside a supermarket, but I can go outside and shop.’”

On the other hand, COVID-19 might have contributed to some hesitance among potential customers, according to MacNear.

“We’ve been [on campus] for 16 years and it marches along, but I don’t know what the answer is to get more people there,” MacNear said. “This quarter in particular is our first real quarter back, and people are starting to get nervous and wear masks again.”

First-year civil engineering major Guillermo Carranza frequents the farmers market on a biweekly basis and finds the location convenient.

“I buy stuff because it’s pretty good quality,” Carranza said. “It’s a little expensive, but it’s fine — there’s fresh fruit and during the winter, I come here specifically for the persimmons. […] I haven’t gone to the [Central Park location] yet because it’s a little far for me.”

The sponsorship committee for the UC Davis farmers market will meet in June to discuss plans for upcoming seasons at the Quad.

 

Written by: Isabella Krzesniak — campus@theaggie.org

 

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