Our first food market: By the students for the students!

Jake Dean Jones is helping to set up Staffordshire University’s farmers’ market as part of the National Union of Students’ Our Bright Future project: Student Eats.

The Staffordshire University Students Union is setting up a food market on our Stoke campus. It won’t be as big as the local Tesco or Sainsbury’s, but it will be bringing local food producers and the local community together, to provide the students with healthy, unique, affordable and locally sourced food. And that’s why I have volunteered.

To volunteer in the heart of a project that plans to work with the local community, to introduce new and unique food to people and at a low cost is a golden opportunity for anyone. It will not be an easy task for those of us who have volunteered, but it will be a beneficial one, providing us with new skills, work experience and knowledge on both how to run a business and the local areas produce. As a Geography and Environment student, getting work experience and relatable skills in this area will help me become more workplace ready. With the Students Union and National Union of Students involved, I felt it would be a great way to develop these skills. This is because they will both be there to help guide us volunteers when we might be struggling with a task or skill.    

The Staffordshire University Students Union and the National Union of Students have been very informative, keeping us up to date with the progress of the finer details that go into a project like this. These updates have helped me realise how much work goes into making a food market as well as becoming more knowledgeable in these processes. Everyone involved is very friendly, so asking questions is very easy and helps drop any mental barriers or worries that I might have about asking a question about a certain topic. Before the development meeting with the NUS and Soil Association I was a bit anxious, however this was soon cleared by the informality of the meeting and the representatives’ friendly and fun way of running the meeting. It was my first time in a meeting like that and so the outcome has given me a lot more confidence for any future meetings I will have for the food market. 

With the first food market being in December time is ticking and I know the Students Union and volunteers are putting a lot of work into it. Because of this, I hope in time it is successful and the market is run on the campus for many years to come. Hopefully the market will achieve its aims and objectives as well as create new ones to help the sustainable growth and development of the market. For the December 2016 market I hope we can attract a reasonable amount of producers and a reasonable amount of students so that we can get a good practice run and find any issues with our current method. These issues might be small or large due to the fact that we cannot predict everything that might occur, however any and all issues will help with the future development of our food market.

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