by Erica Montgomery
Posted 3/24/2010 10:10 AM
Spring is officially here, and USC is celebrating by going green. USC held its first Healthy Carolina Farmers Market of the season Tuesday.
A study by Emaxhealth, a daily health news website, said most fruits and veggies grown in the U.S. travel at least 1,500 miles before they reach their customers.
Alicia Wilson says she buys locally to avoid that.
"I like the idea of not having the food transported 3,000 miles before I eat it. We ride our bikes to work, we try to minimize our carbon footprint so we like that aspect of it," said Wilson.
Healthy Carolina's Violet Beets helps to organize the farmers market on campus.
Violet says she feels reassured buying organic home grown food.
"A lot of our farmers here provide organic options so they're not using those fertilizers that are fuel based," said Beets.
Beets says the Healthy Carolina Farmers Markets have been successful so far.
"We've seen an increase in the flow and the traffic that comes to our markets... providing healthy options to our faculty, staff and students," she says.
Vendors at the USC Farmers Market sell a wide range of foods, including honey, vegetables, oysters, dairy and some even sell candles and lotions.
But it's not only good for shoppers. Martin Eubanks, of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, says that shopping at farmers markets benefits the state, too.
"It gives local consumers the opportunity to support local agriculture..., make a choice to spend their food dollars with a local farmer," said Martin Eubanks. "So that in turn makes a net positive impact to the local economy."
Local food can be more expensive, but Eubanks says research done by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture shows people will pay higher prices for locally grown products.
"That's important to them, knowing where their food comes from, knowing that source, knowing the farmer has proved to be important," said Eubanks.
And Maria Sophocleous couldn't agree more. She shops at every Healthy Carolina Farmers Market and says she is willing to pay higher prices.
"The produce is fresh and we know the vendors from the other markets and they have good stuff," said Maria.
Healthy Carolina plans to host four more Farmers Markets this spring. You can find them on Greene street on March 30 and April 6, 13 and 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.