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Onions Under Orion: Get Your Fresh Veggies on UMMA’s Front Lawn This Summer With the UMSFP Farm Stand

Onions Under Orion: Get Your Fresh Veggies on UMMA’s Front Lawn This Summer With the UMSFP Farm Stand

Better start bookmarking your favorite produce-heavy recipes, because the U-M Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) Farm Stand outside of UMMA is open for business!

The Farm Stand is a weekly pop-up market and education project that sells produce grown by students for students. The stand is open on Thursdays  and can be found on State St outside of UMMA, near the sculpture Orion. The students from UMSFP offer up a selection of fresh produce from the Campus Farm, which is maintained at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Produce options change weekly based on what is fresh and available.

As for the rest of the summer, the Farm Stand will be active on July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th, from 12-3pm. Beginning on August 25th, the Farm Stand will operate weekly on Thursdays from 12-3pm, and run through mid-November.

“The Farm Stand team is getting excited for the bustle that comes with autumn! Our location in front of UMMA has brought a stream of curious students, staff, and those just strolling,” said Marie Gallagher, the UMSFP Farm Stand Manager. “I feel great being a part of a student-run initiative to grow our collective ability to define our own food system, and I believe community-grown visions compound to make incredible change.”

The Farm Stand is a partnership between the UM Sustainable Food Program in Student Life and the Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. The project seeks to increase access to local food for students and engage the wider U-M community in food systems learning and engagement opportunities. Student shoppers receive a 30 percent discount, and the proceeds from the Farm Stand go towards funding student-led sustainable food initiatives at U-M through UMSFP’s mini-grants for food justice program.

“Having the students grow food, and help make it accessible to other students, is such a radical act of community self-determination that pushes the bounds of what we find acceptable,” said Alex Bryan, the Programs Manager in Student Life Sustainability. “Being adjacent to UMMA, another institution that pushes the bounds of creativity and thought, is a perfect fit.”

In 2020, the year the Farm Stand launched, they served more than 120 students, and also donated almost 500 pounds of food to the Maize and Blue Cupboard. In the 2021 season, these numbers rocketed up to nearly 800 customers (about 80 percent of whom were students), and about 1400 pounds of food donated. (More data can be found in their annual report.)

UMSFP Underground Zine Animation

For the 2022 season the team has released the Underground Zine, a print-only, free publication available at the Farm Stand and spearheaded by UMSFP Leadership Team member Emma McKillip and Cultural Organizer for Student Life Sustainability, Cameron Wilson. The Zine offers a variety of produce-related poetry, essays, photography, and recipes.

This fall, UMSFP will have a paid Leadership Team position solely devoted to zine production. Anyone (not just students) can submit materials for publication in Underground at any time by emailing theunderground@umich.edu.

According to Clara Gamalski, UMSFP Advisor, the idea for the zine grew out of the students’ desires to “do something creative because they were inspired by the proximity to UMMA; give Farm Stand customers something to leave with (besides produce) that spoke more broadly to UMSFP’s work for student food sovereignty; and have a little fun in an otherwise bleak world.”

Tune in to sustainable food happenings by subscribing to the UMSFP’s weekly newsletter. You can also connect with them on Instagram at @umsustainablefood and @umfarmstand, on Facebook at @umsfp, or on their U-M Sustainable Food Program YouTube channel.