Iowa State University Food Festival Brings Farmers’ Market Onto Campus

AMES, Iowa  --  On Tuesday, Iowa State University held an on-campus food festival similar to a farmers' market.

A number of area vendors came to campus to offer free samples, as well as products for sale. Many students on campus have a meal plan, but some opted to pick up some vegetables or baked goods on the way to class.

“There's always been interest on our campus about having farmers' markets and bringing produce to campus for our students, faculty, and staff to enjoy,” said Merry Rankin, Director of Sustainability at Iowa State University. “We put together this idea of what about a local food festival to sort of kick off, not the famers' market every week, but something to kick off, get our students excited about visiting farmers' markets around the community.”

The event was billed as "Food Festival, an Adventure in Eating." Some vendors packed their items in smaller quantities for students to carry on their way to or from class.

"I really like it. I'm a dietetic student, so eating local is kind of what I'm interested in,” said Allison Fenske, a student from Huron, South Dakota. “So being able to taste these things and get a feel for how the farmers' market is really like is really a great experience.”

“I think it's a great way to promote local food, get young people thinking about where their food comes from,” said Nicole Jonas of Red Granite Farms in Boone County. “I think social media and the way that this age of students shop and how they talk to their friends about what they're doing makes events like this really successful.”