April 18, 2019 | 60° F

EDITORIAL: Farmers markets should be affordable

Healthy diet can translate into well functioning brain


It is true — money technically cannot buy health. But what it can do is offer a person the option to eat healthily, which is largely the same thing. 

Rutgers Gardens, located on Cook campus, gave rise to the Rutgers Farmers Market in 2008, the aim of which is to provide the Rutgers community the opportunity to experience and purchase fresh, locally grown and prepared foods. Access to fresh and healthy foods like this is crucial for students in multiple ways, and the market offers us a chance to know exactly where the things we eat come from. But as is commonly understood, farmers markets usually have relatively steep prices. 

Healthy and fresh foods are often expensive, and for people who live in urban environments like what we see on the College Avenue campus and the surrounding area, access can be seemingly nonexistent — which is why farmers markets like Rutgers’ are important. But if students, especially low-income students, cannot afford to utilize the market then its potential for good is wasted. Those of lower socioeconomic status, then, are essentially blocked out and must resort back to a cheap and fast food type diet.

There is a clear correlation between poverty and poor nutrition. And with that said, students are not often swimming in money — which is why many classically resort to eating mac-and-cheese or ramen for dinner multiple nights a week. Good nutrition, according to a Harvard Medical School blog, can translate into a healthy mind, and when looked at through the scope of student benefit, if the University is truly interested in putting effort toward the promotion of good mental-health practices then promoting easy access to healthy foods and education about their importance should presumably be a part of its plan. 

Students should be educated about the importance of eating healthy and be motivated to do so. This is a necessary aspect of improving our community’s general quality of life. One of the new aspects of the Rutgers Farmers Market is the building of a green roof to allow the market to conduct business in any weather condition while also providing space to grow more crops. This new green roof for the market brings up an interesting idea regarding incorporating more easily accessible healthy foods in the more urban locations of the Rutgers community — put gardens on the roofs. Community gardens offer ways for students to have cheap access to fresh and healthy foods. It can also teach students valuable lessons about independently sustaining themselves. 

The most important thing to take away from this is that students should at least have the choice of eating healthy. The University has taken strides in recent years by offering students more healthy options in dining halls, but more can surely still be done. Considering the link between a healthy diet and a well-functioning brain, no students should be forced to resort to a constant unhealthy diet under the University’s watch. These sorts of things of course do take time and resources to implement, though. It will not happen overnight, but access to healthy foods has the ability to transform our community’s quality of life.


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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