The Student Government Engagement Committee at Notre Dame, South Bend hosted the first on-campus Farmer’s Market on Friday, September 16. The event brought together local South Bend restaurants, artisans and vendors.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fieldhouse Mall, students could purchase food from Vegan Bites by Jas, Purple Porch, and Mom’s Keiflies. They could also buy handmade jewelry and art from Skye is the Limit and Gems of Pride.
South Bend student government director of engagement and senior Quinn McKenna said the items available for purchase ranged from kombucha to handmade jewelry to Polish pastries.
“Purple Porch had a variety of dishes including but not limited to pre-made sandwiches, brownies, blueberries, paw paws – a fruit native to Indiana, kombucha, and specialty sodas” , did he declare.
The Farmer’s Market was the first event hosted by the South Bend Commitment Committee, a new body added to student government by the Lee-Stitt administration this academic year.
McKenna said the goal of the Farmer’s Market — as well as the South Bend Engagement Committee as a whole — is to expose students to what South Bend has to offer.
“This department is about bursting the ‘Notre Dame bubble’ and getting students to engage with the community in ways other than service,” McKenna said. “South Bend has a very vibrant and creative community, and this department was created to further expose students to that. Therefore, this market served as a means of introduction to some local businesses in hopes that students would venture into the community independently to explore more of what South Bend is.
Sophomore Andres Alvarez, a South Bend native and committee member, said about 500 students, faculty, staff and campus visitors visited the Farmer’s Market on Friday.
Alvarez said many vendors sold out faster than expected due to higher than expected attendance at the event.
“Some [vendors] were creating more products while sitting in their chairs because they were selling out so fast, and others had to go back to their stores to get more inventory,” he said. “We learned from the Farmer’s Market that the community of Notre Dame wants to shop locally.”
He said the popularity of the event was encouraging for his committee as he plans future events to engage students in the South Bend community this year.
Currently, he said, the committee is creating a “South Bend Passport,” which will serve as a guide to introduce students to off-campus restaurants, cafes, stores and other local businesses.
Alvarez said they are also working to invite members of the local community to campus to teach students about South Bend’s history.
“Even though we are Our Lady, we should all take the time to listen to some prominent voices from the neighboring community.”
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