CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is committed to encouraging students, faculty and staff to engage in healthy lifestyle choices through many eco-friendly activities and sustainable projects. Islander Dining sponsored by Chartwells at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, in partnership with GROW Local South Texas and the Corpus Christi Downtown Farmer’s Market, supported this philosophy through the bi-annual Islander Farmer’s Market on Oct. 19.
“The real fundamental shift is going to come from the youth,” said Aislynn Campbell, Founder and Executive Director of GROW Local South Texas. “The Island Farmer’s Market is an opportunity for us to speak to the younger generations about this fundamental shift to change the future of the local food movement and build a legacy of healthy habits.”
The Islander Farmer’s Market supported local producers and campus artisans who offered organic locally grown food, handmade goods and products. Attendees had the opportunity to enjoy nutritious options such as fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade bread, natural juices, fresh roasted coffee and more. The market was a fun and positive space where the Islander community also enjoyed art, books and live music from Antisocial Science. Antisocial Science features College of Liberal Arts Dean, Dr. Mark Hartlaub; Dr. Jeff Dillard, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science; and Dr. Dan Jorgensen, Chair of the Department of Social Science.
“Islander Dining is excited to host events that create more awareness about responsibly sourcing food among students,” said Amanda Hall, Director of Islander Dining Marketing and Guest Experience. “We want to support our local community and local farmers as much as possible. Here at Dining Services, we’re making strides to become even more eco-friendly on campus and events like this are a great opportunity for students to learn why sourcing sustainably is important.”
GROW Local South Texas, created by Campbell, who is also an Islander alumna, has supported the local food movement in Corpus Christi since 2012. With the mission to cultivate a healthy community, the organization has improved access to nutritious, affordable and local food for Coastal Bend residents.
In addition, the Island University promotes sustainable environmental initiatives on campus through the Islander Green Team. Islander Dining and the Islander Green Team have partnered to compost organic food waste into soil for the Green Team gardens. Organic waste produced from the Dining Hall, University Center Cove, Starbucks, and Einstein’s Bros. Bagels gets placed into buckets from Chartwells employees and picked up by the Green Team to be repurposed into a nutrient rich soil to help gardens on campus flourish.
“The Islander Green Team has taught us how to re-feed the land through turning food waste into a valuable resource,” said Campbell. “The quick way to learn something is to teach it. Everything that we do is through volunteering for learning purposes.”
The Islander Farmer’s Market was not only a space to support local farmers but to also support Island University students dealing with food insecurity. Islander students, faculty and staff were able to donate two cans of non-perishable food to Izzy’s Food Pantry. For each donation, visitors got a free snow cone from the Islander Food Truck.
Although the Islander Farmer’s Market happens once per semester, the University community can still enjoy sustainably sourced seafood, Certified Humane Cage Free eggs, rBGH free dairy products, and social and ecological Certified Coffee through the Islander Dining meal plans, which offer a variety of healthy options to keep Islanders fed and energized during the academic year.