Ball State junior paves the way for student shuttle to local farmers market
By Sabrina Schnetzer
Early this Saturday morning, farmers wake up to bring their produce to sell at the farmer’s market. This time they are more energized to set up because they expect more customers. This time, there will be college students, not just hungry for food, but for answers.
Thanks to one person: Kyleigh Snavely.
In her sophomore year, she ran for Ball State’s Student Government Association on a platform to increase students’ access to healthy, local food, and the next August, the university began running a shuttle to the weekly Farmers Market at Minnetrista.
“As a senator, I asked students what they wanted changed on campus, and most said they want healthier food options,” said the junior dietetics major, who secured funding from SGA and Welcome Week to fund the shuttle. “The goal of the farmer’s market campaign is to eventually have a regular market on campus,” said Snavely, who regularly attends the Farmers Market at Minnetrista. “To do that, we need to have students interested in the farmer’s markets we already, so those vendors would be more apt to come to campus.”
There were about 70 students who rode the first shuttle during Welcome Week. Kyleigh estimates that 150 students were at the Farmers Market at Minnetrista that day. She noticed many student cars and saw students walking over to the farmers market.
“I love seeing others so curious and passionate about nutrition, supporting farmers, and getting out into the community where they live and learn,” said Snavely, who makes her own nutritious snacks. “To see students take a change and step outside their comfort zone is indescribable to me and encouraging to the Muncie community.”
“The market director and vendors said they’d never seen so many students, and they loved it, not only because of an increase in sales, but because the students were asking questions about farming and organic options, for instance,” said Snavely, who grew up going to farmer’s markets in Bloomington, Illinois. “The vendors aren’t just there to sell their goods. They want to educate people about eating local and dispel myths.”
Before the SGA shuttle, most students were unaware that there was a farmer’s market in Muncie on Saturday mornings. Some students are worried about the price of foods and assume that food sold at markets is overpriced, however, that is not true.
“Vendors at the market have to produce 51 percent of their product, and they take pride in that,” she said. “But beyond what they sell, the market also inspires community. It’s fun to see students get out into the community and sometimes talk with people they might not interact with otherwise.”
She was on the last bus ride from Minnetrista to campus during Welcome Week. It was so packed that Kyleigh had to stand up on the bus. She asked students on the bus how they felt about the farmer’s market.
“I asked them ‘how did you like it?’ and everyone said that they loved it and wanted to go back every week,” she said. “This is why I do it because students don’t know that there’s such amazing things out there unless we say something.”
Although there are currently no more shuttles scheduled for the semester, Kyleigh is hoping that different student organizations will pair with SGA to fund future shuttles.
“I hope to pass this [project] onto someone who is passionate about [farmers markets] and can figure out the obstacles with the university,” said Kyleigh.
Quick Vegan Chili
- 1 extra large onion, diced small
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 2 celery, diced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
- 8 fat cloves of garlic, rough chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1 teaspoon paprika)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, with juices
- 3 cans beans – any assortment, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup water
- 1-3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark cocao powder, or one square of dark chocolate (optional, but good!)
Place diced onions, carrots, celery, and tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
Add to the pot the diced bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Also add to the pot ½ teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally. Cook until onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.
When the veggies are tender, add the spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle powder/paprika, and cinnamon. Let simmer 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and beans. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
Stir in soy sauce and chocolate. Enjoy!