Grand Valley State University has been recognized nationwide for its sustainable practices. Our library has energy-efficient windows, our trash is sorted into three categories, the campus features LEED-certified buildings and the Lanthorn is printed on 100 percent compostable paper. To add to our list of sustainable efforts, GVSU’s Farmers Market will be opening in June, presenting a unique opportunity for Lakers.

In previous editorials, we have discussed the importance of hands-on learning and application. The on-campus Farmers Market is a great example of “walking the walk.” Students following a career path focused on sustainable efforts have an opportunity to work with the market in a very real-world way and those not particularly interested in the efforts but are more interested in the food have an easy way to get fresh produce and interact with the community.

The Farmers Market also places a large focus on education, as a branch of the university should. Today, each American puts away an average of 195 pounds of meat every year, compared to just 138 pounds in the 1950s. Consumption of added fats also shot up by around two-thirds over the same period, and grain consumption rose 45 percent since 1970, according to Sometimes, the problem behind obesity is a lack of education.

In addition to overall obesity rates, if we pinpoint the facts down to focus exclusively on children, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Farmers Market has also implemented collaborative work with the G3 children’s camp to talk about healthy eating. For being confined to a parking lot, the Farmers Market has done a great job at utilizing far-reaching and beneficial initiatives. If GVSU has an opportunity to reach the local community in a positive way, it should be using all its resources to do so.

Shopping for fresh food can be difficult, not to mention expensive. The Farmers Market aims to provide an alternative to both these things for students, faculty and staff.

Looking past the food aspect, the Farmers Market also allows local musicians to showcase their talent by featuring a new musician every week at the market. This is a great way to feature the talents of GVSU students and local people by giving them an opportunity to perform they may not have had before.

The Farmers Market is always looking for student volunteers to ensure smooth operation on market days, as well as with setting up and taking down. Students also have the option to volunteer with the Sustainable Agriculture Project, a student- and volunteer-run community-supported farm. Getting involved with sustainability might seem like a tough task, but with a little elbow grease, volunteers are welcome where there’s work to be done.

With all of these benefits to offer, all members of the GVSU community should take advantage of the Farmers Market this summer, celebrating its 10th season while munching on fresh, locally-grown summer berries.