Student Government and the Office of Sustainability host farmers’ markets to promote sustainability and support small businesses
BY: M.E. GODFREY STAFF WRITER
On April 12, tables were placed and tents were pitched all over the East Plaza lawn beside the Johnson Center. All featuring small businesses and organizations on and off-campus and with assorted items that promoted sustainability. Plants, crepes and tote bags were only a few of the items that were sold and given to students as they came to the Mason’s Farmers Market in between classes.
From its successful debut in the Fall 2021 semester, the Mason Farmers Market was hosted again for the Spring 2022 semester through a partnership between the Office of Sustainability and the Student Government. This time, the once a semester market had the theme of “Think Global, Shop Local.”
From the “Think Global, Shop Local” theme, it allowed the market to support George Mason University’s commitment to carbon neutrality, in addition, to also support small businesses that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fitting into the theme, vendors were allowed to come on campus and be supported, while also agreeing to the requirements of avoiding using single-use plastics. According to Student Body President-Elect, Sophia Nguyen, “With small businesses and sustainability, [the student government] hopes that students understand that they are the ones that bring our community together, so we need to support them as much as possible!”
While students were able to support these small businesses that are taking a green initiative through buying their products or donating funds, other ways students are able to support are by getting connected with these businesses and organizations on campus.
Doni Nolan, the Greenhouse and Gardens Program Manager for the Office of Sustainability, says that one way a student can become involved with sustainability “is by volunteering with the greenhouse and gardens program and signing up for shifts and helping us sow seeds or harvest inside the greenhouse… Students can also help out with selling our plants at the market every Thursday outside of the JC. It is a very concrete way to get involved year-round and creates a sense of community on campus as well.”
While there were some students that missed the recent farmers market due to classes and midterms, the Office of Sustainability and the Student Government hope to continue planning and creating more farmers markets for future semesters. Nguyen says “We hope to have it twice a semester per semester, or even better, once a month!” As well as continuing their partnership by saying “we plan on working with them further for future Farmers Market events and anything that deals with sustainability issues on campus!”
To learn more on how you can get involved with sustainability, make a difference, or learn about upcoming events at George Mason University, visit the website green.gmu.edu or go to @sustainmason or @masonstudentgov on Instagram.