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Gaucho Certified Farmers Market

Gaucho Certified Farmers Market

By: Christina Markos & Jen Meress

The Adelle Davis Foundation, a 501 (c)3 non-profit located in Santa Barbara with the mission to support a program of education and developmental activities relative to the field of nutrition donates annually to the Health and Wellness Program at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as well as being a part of their ICP Internship program. The Adelle Davis Foundation is very excited about the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market at UCSB. The Foundation’s UCSB intern, Jen Meress is part of a student-led group on campus, Gauchos in the Kitchen, and has been getting more involved with the farmers market and recently spoke with committee representative, Rachel Hommel.  The Adelle Davis Foundation was so eager to find out more information regarding the project and how it is developing, as it is such an amazing way to get the campus and Santa Barbara community involved with sustainability and food education! This is another example of how incredibly innovative, entrepreneurial, and driven the UCSB students are. The foundation looks forward to setting up a booth in the near future to promote healthy and sustainable living on a budget.


Jen: Where do the products come from, do the students on campus do a lot of the growing or farming? How involved is the student body within the actual agriculture?

Rachel: The farmers and artisans are all sourced from within 150 miles (defined as Tri County). We found this criterion to be very important when deciding which producers to contact. While we do not have students currently enrolled farming or growing produce, we invite student organizations to table weekly to help support their endeavors. We want the market to really represent the University and sustainability on campus. We do have several farmers that are UCSB alumni.

J: UCSB is one of the first campus’ to actually have a farmers market right on campus! What was one of the final pulls to get this off the ground?

R: The dedication of the committee members was a huge reason the market came about, stemming originally from a UCSB staff course called Gaucho University. The process included a survey for viability where we received a great response from staff, faculty, and the students.


J: Were you able to get grant-funding and was there a lot of community and campus support?

R: We received an $8000 TGIF grant from UCSB Sustainability, which helped us with the initial costs of starting the market. During the Opening Celebration, we not only had great support from campus but also several local media outlets (including coverage on KEYT), The Independent, radio and local written press and articles).

J: Were there a lot of jumping hoops for this to initially get up and running? How long was the time period from conception to the first market?

R: The Gaucho U Cohort began meeting in September 2012 and ended March 2013.  When we presented our proposal to the Gaucho U Closing Ceremony in March 2013, we were given the approval to move forward with the project.  We did have to jump through some hoops to get approval by all the necessary departments on campus. This included UC Senior Administration, Risk Management, Parking & Transportation Services, UC Dining, and the Fire Marshall to name a few.  Once we got approval from all the necessary parties, we spent the summer of 2013 and early fall planning for our Grand Opening on Oct 23, 2013.  We have just had our 6 month anniversary and we’re excited to announce that we will be moving the location to the center of campus on the walkway between North Hall and Campbell Hall.

J: I know some people simply can’t attend because their schedules coincide with the times, are any more times in the talk for the next coming years so more students have a chance to attend weekly?

R: We recently sent out a survey where students/staff/faculty could indicate their preferences of time and location. We have since acquired a new location (Library Mall between North Hall and Campbell Hall) that we feel will benefit the larger UCSB community, but we will keep our hours 11am-3pm on Wednesdays. This is the time that seems to work best for both staff, faculty, students, AND the farmers.


J: How were you able to make the produce less expensive than the regular farmers market in Santa Barbara and Goleta? This one is more price friendly and geared towards students which is fantastic.

R: We do not handle the pricing. We have asked that the farmers be competitive in price, but they determine how much each item will be priced at. We are pleased to hear that the pricing is competitive and this is clearly one of the great benefits of dealing directly with farmers. We think shopping at the farmers market is a great deal for all parties involved.

J:  How can the community or local non-profits get involved? Is there a way for a non-profit to reserve a booth?

R: We currently have various campus organizations tabling weekly at the market. We are open to any suggestions or ideas, but we do like to keep the organizations environmental in nature, as we hope the market acts as a source for education and environmentalism. If interested, you can email