Homegrown and Handmade: The Climate Forward Community Market

Multilingual signs cheerfully invite guests into the USF community garden. PHOTO BY BEAU TATTERSALL / SF FOGHORN

Market stands lined the wall of the School of Education parking lot and the entrance to the USF community garden on April 29 for the “Climate Forward Community Market.” The environmental studies capstone class held the market to celebrate their final projects and showcase USF’s small-business talents. The sunshine, blue skies, bubbles floating through the air, and lively music set the tone for the event and brought flocks of curious people together. 

Some of USF’s environmental programs and partners including the Office of Sustainability, the Seed Library, and Star Route Farms hosted stands alongside student-run environmental clubs and small businesses, like BIPOC Students for the Environment and Bluehouse Ritual.

At the market’s entrance, senior Gabrielle True stood behind a table lined with golden honey jars. Complete with built-in honey dippers, the jars were filled with honey collected from USF’s apiaries by the Hive Minders club. True said that the club is a way for people to get to know all of USF’s green spaces and learn about bees and pollination in urban areas. They also said they’d like it to be a space for healing by connecting with nature, especially for BIPOC and LGBTQIA people. “Caring for the bees and harvesting and preparing honey is a meditative process, and you have to be aware of your environment,” they said. “That mindfulness is a start to being able to heal in this urban landscape.”

Representing the food pantry as their communications manager at the table next door, senior Lia Posatiere presented her contribution to the market: a notification system for the food pantry and other food-related events for USF students. “I created a channel on the MyUSF mobile app that students can opt into to receive not just food pantry notifications, but also any events where there might be free food access for students,” she said. The channel already has 90 students signed up to receive notifications and anyone can opt in by scrolling to the bottom of the MyUSF mobile app homepage.

Across the lot, in a box next to heaps of fresh produce from Star Route Farms, a stack of zines and laminated prints were available to take home. The zines, created by senior Jacob Linde, outlined his capstone project titled “Reclamation and Resistance: A People’s History of Star Route Farms.” 

“The resistance part is resisting the white-dominant narrative of what history looks like and recognizing that history didn’t start when settlers came here,” Linde said. “The reclamation part is having BIPOC students come in and essentially reclaim the space.” Linde researched the history of the land Star Route Farms occupies and took nine BIPOC students on a retreat to the farm to explore the area, discuss the Coast Miwok peoples that once inhabited the space, and practice self-care as BIPOC students within the environmental movement. “It was a way to get BIPOC students outdoors because we have disproportionate access to green spaces,” he said.

The prints in the box, illustrated by True and donning a large QR code, were created by senior Androniki Foondos. The QR code leads you to a long list of recipes, broken down into breakfast, meals, sauces and dressings, and sweets. “I made a Google doc with Gabrielle and a bunch of people submitted recipes that you could make with food pantry items,” Foondos said. “Then Professor David Silver shared a whole new list of recipes, and the more that came in I thought, why not include them all.” The cookbook includes, but is not limited to, recipes that can be made entirely from food pantry items.

At the entrance to the community garden, a group of students and professors were busy chopping ginger, apples, and beets to make jars of beetroot sauerkraut. Senior Bailey Hudson, a volunteer at the workshop stand, said she felt the market was a way to bring people together. “We are trying to make it accessible for people to know how to do this stuff, and to do it for free, and to do it together because USF can be kind of isolating,” Hudson said.

Three stands stood out from the rest as the sun reflected off of jewels and crystals that they displayed. At one, senior Jazz Toyama, @jxwelsbyjazz on Instagram, sold a collection of their hand-made earrings and necklaces made from freshwater pearls, glass, and antique beads. “This is my first-time vending so I’m really excited about how it’s going,” they said. 

Next to them, junior international studies major Maya O’leary Cyr sold her photographs of the Painted Ladies, forests, and the Golden Gate bridge. She created her brand, Maya Joy Creative, in anticipation of the market. “My favorite subjects are nature and architecture,” she said. “I love that this market is helping to keep the garden alive. Most people don’t even know where it is and it’s such an amazing place.”

It was difficult to see through the swarm of people populating the third stand. Senior Blue Buccat created a swath of crocheted scrunchies, plush animals, and flower bouquets, along with clay pins in the shape of the moon, flowers, and hearts. She started her business, Bluehouse Ritual, over the pandemic with her clay creations, and began crocheting this year. “I crochet every day, and I get more out of the process than the product. It’s so great if you have anxiety,” she said. Buccat also makes posters and Instagram posts for the Seed Library as their assistant.

Walking between stands, chatting with market-goers, and queuing songs on her “market playlist” was senior Mariela Lopez-Oviedo, the driving force behind the event. Her capstone project was to make the market happen. “I noticed that everybody within the environmental communities on campus wanted to talk to the same people about the same things,” she said. “Instead of bombarding people with emails about all of our initiatives, we wanted to bring everyone together to see each other’s work and have fun.”

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