Creation Stewardship Week at Biola University in La Mirada, CA, was the perfect example of sustainability-based cooperation between the university and Bon Appétit.
The celebration was planned to remind students and faculty of the responsibilities humans have to the planet and how personal decisions affect the world around us, even in ways that may not be immediately apparent. The farmers’ market that capped the week went beyond just offering produce, including education materials related to the purchases and supplementary information about environmental conservancy.
Local produce organized by Executive Chef John Rose and supplied by Robert Knight from Old Grove Orange and his affiliates set the tone for a traditional farmers’ market. An abundance of talented musicians signed up to provide entertainment, while an assortment of cultural and environmental campus groups set up fundraising and educational booths that provided crafts and even plants for sale from the campus farm (as well as free farm tours). Biola’s Soaring Eagle food truck enticed crowds with free tacos.
The participation from faculty, individual students, a multitude of cultural and environmental clubs, and even guest visitors from the local Whittier grammar school exceeded even the initially high expectations. A highlight of the event was the excitement of the elementary school students, who came to see the farm and its fresh produce prior to starting their own student garden. Hope that activities like this can inspire children was clearly visible that day; a sweet bonus was witnessing a college student and a fifth grader equally getting excited at the sight of a purple carrot, cautiously taking a bite, then simultaneously realizing how tasty it was.
Unlike a usual farmers’ market, after which farmers must pack up unsold goods and leave, Bon Appétit was able to buy and use all of the remaining produce, ensuring that farmers went home happy and students had healthy meals to look forward to.
Submitted by Daniel Cruz, Retail Supervisor