GV Farmers Market holds final fall sale


GVL / Aida Dennis

Lea Gaetto, Staff Writer

In June 2022 Grand Valley State University’s Farmers Market returned after a two-year hiatus, giving students access to fresh, locally grown foods on campus.

Among the many coordinators for this function is Allysa Babcock, Laker Food Co.’s Sustainability Manager. Babcock said the market has had an incredible turnout since re-opening.

“This was the first year it has happened post-COVID, and I have seen a really great turnout from local businesses and the campus community,” Babcock said. “Each week, I had the opportunity to meet new local vendors at our GVSU market.”

These events have been held on the second Wednesday of the month since June and lasted until October, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in parking lot G, and this past Wednesday, Oct. 12, was the final one for the season.

The weather, however, was not friendly to the market that day. With on-and-off rain in the forecast for Wednesday, the consumer turnout for this event was less than it had been in previous markets of the season. However, Babcock still deemed it a successful day in her book. 

As part of the event, students had the chance to learn from Laker Food Co. Registered Dietitian Alyssa Koopman, assisted by Babcock, where they presented and sampled a food demonstration.

“When I am at the market, I show students or other participants how to prepare the dish and explain their ability to tailor the recipe based on their food preferences,” Koopman said. “I like to choose recipes acceptable for the everyday consumer, utilizing ingredients that are budget-friendly and easily accessible.” 

Since GVSU students are the biggest group attending the markets, Koopman said she ensures that the options are feasible for them, since she understands that not everyone can afford to purchase expensive ingredients at all times. 

At the final market of the year, Koopman presented an apple kale salad with candied walnuts and a dijon vinaigrette using ingredients from GVSU’s SAP Farm. She said that she is passionate about buying local as often as possible, and the GVSU Farmers market provides a fantastic option for students and herself to engage with provincial vendors and their sustainable products.

“By collaborating with this team, I am able to support their practices and spread awareness about the benefits of opting for seasonal, local produce and goods,” Koopman said. “Unfortunately, this was the last Farmers Market of the 2022 season. Next year, I hope to continue food demonstrations showcasing seasonal produce available to purchase at the Farmers Market.”

Given Koopman’s role at the university, she is able to collaborate with various departments on campus and their directors — one being the Office of Sustainability Practices and Laker Food Co. Sustainability Manager. Koopman said collaboration with Yumi Jakobcic, Director of the Office of Sustainability Practices, has helped to promote sustainable practices around campus. 

Babcock’s motivation for becoming an active leader at the Farmers Market echoed this sentiment.

“Originally, I got involved so I could help Classic Fare Catering prepare the market lunch, but I continued attending because it was a great way to network with students, the community and vendors,” Babcock said. “It was a remarkable chance to provide sustainability education to people.”

Anyone has the opportunity to engage with their community, and Koopman and Babcock both suggest reaching out to Jakobcic for more information.