Sustainability Corner: Faces of Sustainability
For the last five years, UTSC Farmers’ Market and the UTSC beehives have been playing significant roles in bringing awareness of eating locally and keeping the community sustainable.
The UTSC Farmers’ Market provides opportunity for students, staff, faculty and the community to purchase food locally. The Farmers’ Market gathers a variety of vendors include farmers, producers and artisans every Wednesday for the outdoor market and once a month for the winter indoor markets. Community members can purchase a variety of products including jams and jellies, fruits and vegetables, freshly baked breads and pastries, herbs, honey and spices, to name a few.
Brian Hamlin, the on-campus beekeeper is one of them. Michelle Cheh from the Business Development Department was responsible for organizing and running the market this year. The Sustainability Office Peer Educators spoke with both Michele and Brian this summer to learn more about the great things they are working on as well as discussing their opinions on food, sustainability and the importance of knowing what you are consuming.
Michelle Cheh, the interim project coordinator of UTSC’s Business Development Department, provides support to a variety of special programs which include the Food and Beverage Services, and the Retail and Conference Services. In her daily life, she believes that to purchase and to consume locally is very beneficial to the local economy and the social connections within the community.
Cheh is also concerned about the source of food she buys because knowing where the food comes from and how the food is produced helps her know what she is putting in her body. On talking about what sustainability means to her, she mentions, “For me sustainability is making sure that whatever we do in this society, we put something back out into the universe.”
Over the century, agriculture has grown from small, family farming business to large, machine farming agribusinesses. Generally, these huge farms cultivate their produce use chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals to fight diseases. With modern technology, the gene of the plant can be modified and create new species.
These methods are very harmful to the ecosystem and the consumers of the produce. The plant becomes chemical-resistant, and the population of the pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies dies off. Hamlin adds that the spraying of chemicals on the plant not only kills the specific insect that relies on the plant for sustenance but also many other things. He recommends people become aware and educated on their choice of food and produce when thinking about being sustainable in their daily life.
When asked what he thinks about sustainability, Hamlin says, “My big thurst in terms of sustainability is connecting to food and choices around what you’re supporting through your purchase of food.”
Food is crucial for our survival. What we consume makes us what we are. Eating local and organic food benefits the ecosystem, our body and our economy. As a consumer, by making the right choice of purchasing food, we make an effort to support sustainability, and we can vote and manipulate the ways which food is produced.
Join us and help with the sustainability of our community; October 7th will be the last outdoor market, but not to worry, Farmer’s Market will be indoors once a month starting in November. The Sustainability Office will be hosting a Food documentary with Department of Student Life and Culinaria on October 5th, along with other Food Discussion Cafes and gardening workshops throughout October. The Sustainability Office and Culinaria will be launching a new leadership stream under the DSL Leadership program open to all students.
*Published in The Underground V.35 I.02 pg.43