The San Antonio Food Bank’s new Mobile Mercado rolled onto the St. Mary’s campus Oct. 7, 2016, to add flavor to the monthly farmers’ market held on campus.
The Mobile Mercado was initially set to come to St. Mary’s in late 2015, but the St. Mary’s University Sustainability Committee instead planned several farmers’ markets — sans the Mobile Mercado — for the University and surrounding community to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and more.
But the long-awaited appearance of the Mobile Mercado bus — carrying a variety of canned, boxed and frozen foods — as well as the presence of local vendors and artisans selling items like artwork and organic soap, was the work of the Sustainability Committee paying off.
“In an effort to increase awareness about environmentally sustainable practices among our University community, the Sustainability Committee started seriously looking at bringing a farmers’ market to campus nearly two years ago,” said Diane Duesterhoeft, Sustainability Committee member and Professor and Reference Librarian. “We saw hosting a farmers’ market on campus as an opportunity to also reach out to our local neighbors.”
While a rain cloud made for wet conditions in the early part of Friday’s event, it wasn’t enough to stop people from shopping.
“Although the Mobile Mercado is still in its infancy, I think that the farmers’ market here on campus is great for students and the surrounding community to have access to fresh food,” said Leah Bowen, Intramural Coordinator. “I was surprised to see that local artisans were also involved.”
While the Mobile Mercado “is an important part of how St. Mary’s University is working with the San Antonio Food Bank to help alleviate food insecurity in our area,” said Evelynn Mitchell, Sustainability Committee chair and Associate Professor of Environmental Science, it also represents the University’s commitment to working for the greater good.
“As Pope Francis has shown us through Laudato Si (his second encyclical), working to help those of lower economic status is the best path forward to a sustainable world,” Mitchell said.
According to Duesterhoeft, the Sustainability Committee hopes to bring the Mobile Mercado back to campus in future months, while the farmers’ market will continue to be held in Lot G the first Friday of each month.
St. Mary's University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,800 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.