The Gaucho Certified Farmers Market
Photo credit: Gauchos Farmers Market
By Kore Busath-Haedt
Farmers’ Market Overview
The Gaucho Certified Farmers Market (GCFM) is located near Campbell Hall on the UCSB campus, and operates weekly on Wednesdays from 11-2pm. The farmers market is an avenue for UCSB students and staff to access local, fresh food, and learn about nutrition and sustainability. A variety of vegetables, fruits, artisan goods, and even food trucks and music can be found at the market. Because UCSB hosts the market itself rather than contracting with a farmer’s market association, students also have a greater ability to participate through tabling and internships and gain hands on experience!
In October of 2012, Roane Akchurin and Hazel Ando (founding co-chairs) put on the grand opening of the market. In an interview conducted by the Santa Barbara Independent shortly after the inception of GCFM, Akchurin stated that a farmers market at UCSB was “a long time coming.” It sprung from campus betterment project for Gaucho U, a professional development class on campus. After the project ended, staff continued to work on GCFM and received a TGIF grant for the initial funding for a one-year pilot project. The sellers come from a 150-mile radius, from Friend’s Ranch Ojai Citrus to the Pepper Creek Family Farm in Arroyo Grande. The founders decided to limit the sellers to one vendor per product sold in order to eliminate competition between the vendors. This approach benefits the farmer and keeps them coming back.
Programs and Involvement
Each Farmers Market features a campus or local workshop on related sustainable and nutrition ideas. Organizations such as UCSB Health and Wellness, Habitat for Humanity, AS Recycling, and many more can be found tabling at the market.
Each week GCFM shares a recipe that uses the seasonal products sold at the market. This is a great shopping list for those who are new to the farmers market and unsure what to purchase!
GCFM Facebook page is updated weekly to share who will be tabling, the recipe of the week, and any other opportunities for employement or involvement: https://www.facebook.com/gauchocertifiedfarmersmarket/timeline
Delicious, local, and healthy food trucks pop up at the market every other Wednesday. For a full list of food trucks and vendors, check out the GCFM Wordpress. The blog site is also clad with photos and an abundance of information about the mission of the market.
Insider Tip: The Juice Ranch makes delicious cold-pressed juices that it sells every week at the market. Keep your bottle and exchange it for 2$ off your next purchase!