Net Impact at the Fox School of Business will host an educational opportunity called the Fair Foods Fare this Wednesday to alleviate confusion on how students can find sustainable food.
In The Egg, a room off the Main Lobby of Alter Hall, about 20 vendors, six of which are student-run, will be educating through free samples and raffling prizes like t-shirts and homemade jam.
Entrepreneurial businesswoman, activist and author Judy Wicks will be the keynote speaker. Organizing students said they hope she and the vendors will draw a big crowd.
“In Philly, we have fair trade and organic restaurants, food programs that allocate fair food to intercity people and urban gardens that provide extremely local food,” said senior management and information systems major Rachel Voluck, who is President of Net Impact. “The goal is to educate students and increase awareness among them, but also promote the businesses that do it. So we want to say ‘You guys are doing a great job’ and we want the Temple community to know it.”
Voluck, whose organization Net Impact is participating, said sensory overload and confusion from the hundreds of strategically packaged products in supermarkets is a key factor in poor eating habits. Deceptive marketing is essential to convincing people to buy things they otherwise wouldn’t need.
Supermarkets including the Fresh Grocer and Whole Foods sell seemingly upscale products at inflated prices, Voluck said. She recommended students shop at Farm to City and the Food Trust, which have farmers’ markets in Philadelphia. The Food Trust will have an exhibit at the Fair Foods Fare.
Whole Foods offers sustainable products and has also announced a ban on most genetically altered produce. Representatives of the company will also appear at the event on Wednesday.
Temple Rad Dish Co-op, a Cafe and Grocer, will also be present. The club, a student-run supplier of local, organic and fair trade products on Main Campus, will receive of all proceeds from the event.
Senior Alex Epstein and the company Philly Urban Creators have agreed that Main Campus can benefit from urban farming and an educational activist organization. Philly Urban Creators will also be exhibiting in the interest of combating the lack of healthy diversity in the North Philadelphia area.
One major aspect of unhealthy food is planned obsolescence, the term for products designed to be consumed quickly, like chips. Scientists found taste additives that last on the tongue for as little as one second. The participating organizations said they hope to instruct that chips are predominantly unnecessary because healthier, tastier and more sustainable options exist.
Neuron Nectar, a student start-up company specializing in fruit drinks that boost brain health, will offer free samples at the Fair Foods Fare, flavors of which include Mango-Tango. The drink company sold their first few products last Sunday.
“I noticed that Temple as a whole had a major lack of consciousness on the topic of healthy eating and in itself was a food desert,” said the co-founder of Neuron Nectar and junior management and information systems major Zack Logan. “For me, this was a major red flag and has made me push that much harder to bring these nectars to Temple’s campus. What [keeps] me enthused [is] knowing that my customers are getting an organic drink that would not only benefit their bodies, but their neurons as well.”
Some students said they feel limited to the quick corner shops and the Fresh Grocer, Logan said, but Net Impact wants to change that inclination.
Participating students have brought in The Farm Truck, Dock Street Brewery, Pizza Brain and many other organizations under one roof.
“We want to drive customers towards business that do the right thing,” Voluck said. “I hope that we’ll educate students on things they never really think about. I think many people just eat food and don’t really think about it and I just want to evoke questions like, ‘Oh, what am I actually eating?’
Toby Forstater can be reached at email@example.com.