A Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) student is hoping to share sustainable agricultural knowledge while bringing people together at the annual Kwantlen St. Market this summer.
Wendel Vistan, a fourth-year KPU student, said the local farmers market, which offers student-grown produce and other products from community vendors, is a space that brings people together while sharing agricultural knowledge through food.
The weekly open-air market, in its ninth year, runs every Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Minoru Plaza outside the Richmond Brighouse Public Library.
“We saw a lot of excited faces (at the market) and it was nice for people to see … who the people are growing the produce,” said Vistan, adding people were “shocked” to know that the produce was grown at the KPU farm on the Garden City Lands site.
“I think showing that knowledge aspect that the food they eat is grown in our own city. It’s like an educational part.”
KPU students in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program are required to experience what it’s like to work in a farmers market in addition to helping grow food.
For Vistan, this wasn’t an extremely new experience as she grew up in the Philippines watching her grandfather take to the fields as a rice farmer.
When asked why she chose her area of study, Vistan told the Richmond News she felt a lot of “people may feel disconnected with where their food comes from.”
“We have a lot of food that is shipped here and it’s really important to know the process of growth, how long it takes and the labour aspects of where food comes from,” she said.
“Having this knowledge can encourage the community to also grow their own food and continue supporting local farmers and those who care about the environment.”
While locally grown produce may not be “the cheapest” items, the Kwantlen St. Market is finding ways to help those battling with food insecurity, according to Vistan.
Produce that doesn’t get sold at the market is donated to the Richmond Food Bank.
In addition, seniors, low-income families, and those who are pregnant can sign up for the B.C. farmers market nutrition coupon program.
Vistan explained that coupons can be used towards purchasing vegetables, fruit, eggs, honey or anything sold at the Kwantlen market as well as other participating B.C. farmers markets.
Kwantlen St. Market takes place every Tuesday from now until Nov. 14.