For students who spend all day on campus, the choice of what to eat sometimes comes down to either a cheeseburger or a bag of chips. But some people traversing the Arts Tunnel this month may have noticed a new option: fresh produce.
“Students as well as lots of Canadians don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables,” said Rita Hanoski, the Student Health Centre’s Health Education Coordinator. She has run a fresh produce stand in the Tunnel each Thursday in March.
“One of the ideas behind bringing a market right to campus is having it available and having it at affordable prices so that students can purchase more fruits and vegetables,” she said.
Hanoski, who says her job at Student Health is to “educate and inform and encourage healthy decisions in all aspects of student health,” organized the weekly food stand to take place now because Dietitians of Canada has declared March nutrition month. She is working in conjunction with Child Hunger and Education Program to provide cheap, fresh produce to students on campus.
The nearest proper grocery stores are the Safeway on 8th Street and Cumberland Avenue and the Clarence Market on the corner of 12th Street and Clarence Avenue. Each is about a 15-minute walk from campus, and neither emphasizes local produce, which is one of Hanoski’s goals with the campus food stand.
The stand will only be open during March, but Hanoski hopes demand will be great enough to bring the stand back in a more permanent form next year following some data-gathering over the summer.
“One of my hopes is, first of all, to build interest and to get a response from students, so we’re collecting NSIDs from people who choose to give us their NSID when they’re purchasing, and we want to do a little bit of research over the summer as to whether this was something people like, whether they need it, whether it’s needed on campus.”
Hanoski also has plans to add more local produce to the offerings. She has already been able to source local carrots and potatoes.
While prices are subject to some change each week, Hanoski listed some that she said had been largely stable: cucumbers cost $1 each; potatoes cost 20 cents.
If the stand does get revived next year, Hanoski hopes more student groups will help operate it so that Student Health can take a back seat.
“It’s not that we want to run it, it’s that we think there’s a need on campus and how can we meet that need?”
Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf