Being environmentally conscious: a “learning process”

Written by: Melissa Burgess / Assistant News Director

Last January, Liz Fuentes, a senior majoring in philosophy, took a small table selling produce from the student-run Garden Club and transformed it into a successful organic farmers market in the breezeway of the Green Library at the Modesto Maidique Campus.

Fuentes, the president of the Organic Farmers Market Consortium, said that being a part of the Agroecology program was the reason she started getting involved with selling produce from the student-run garden.

“We would hang around and volunteer but the market was dying because we were in a spot where there was no traffic and it was uncomfortable because it would rain or it was too hot,” said Fuentes. “No one really wanted to take responsibility for selling the produce but I really enjoyed, so I decided to take care of it.”

Fuentes said that as she took on the responsibility of the market and became more involved in the Agroecology program and making friends, she encouraged others to participate in the farmers market.  

“One of my friends from the Agroecology Department does natural medicine and I started learning from him,” she said. “I had all those empty tables so I told him to join and I told my other friends from the agroecology and philosophy program to do events with us and very slowly, the market started to grow.”

Fuentes took on the responsibility of being the organic farmers market president with the help and support from her friends and other students involved in the program. Her role as president includes coordinating with different organizations on campus and discuss ways to improve the market for the future.

“For me, the farmers market is like my baby,” she said.” It’s not just about being the president of something, but you have to make your schedule fit it. It’s not only planning for these events but you [also] have to be responsible that everything is going well and make sure that you’re providing quality to the students.”

Originally, Fuentes was an engineering major before switching to philosophy. She said that as she learned more about engineering, the more disappointed she became because of the issues that would affect the world in the future.

“I started learning about agriculture because I think it’s very important to survive,” said Fuentes. “As I started studying, the more I learned, the more interested I became. I started learning about what we could do better for our city and our personal lives so I started implementing it into my life … It’s been a very interesting path and very challenging because of the society that we live in, but it’s all worth it.”

Kevin Maia, a senior majoring in anthropology and member of the Organic Farmers Market Consortium, said he believes Fuentes is what keeps everything at the farmers’ market together.

“I think Liz has done a great job and she’s been able to work with administration well and she handles everything so smoothly.” said Maia. “A day that she’s not there, the market is chaos. Then Liz arrives and the sun breaks out from behind the clouds and all of a sudden, the chaos is back in order.”

Fuentes says being environmentally conscious starts at home and encourages students to be mindful of their waste, “especially here in Miami,” she says.

“… Look at the oranges that come in plastic wraps. Why do you need to buy an orange inside of a plastic wrap? “ said Fuentes. “The orange alone, comes with its own skin and you can recycle the orange peel by drying it and then burning it and it’s a wonderful incense. It’s just a learning process and I feel like you never learn enough.


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

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