Raya Hudhud: Students should get to know local businesses

Raya Hudhud, a freshman majoring in exercise science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Every Wednesday, at half past noon, the area next to the Foggy Bottom Metro station transforms into a colorful market filled with freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

I hardly knew about the market until I started volunteering for FRESHFARM Markets through my Understanding Organisms Through Service Learning class. Each student is required to commit 20 hours of volunteer work to a local organization throughout the semester – the organizations I worked for was the farmer’s market.

On my first day as a volunteer, I immediately felt the impact local farmers could have on GW students if we took advantage of the market more. Students should spend time at the Foggy Bottom FRESHFARM Market to support local farmers, whose work often goes unrecognized.

In the spring and summer, almost 550 people come to the market every Wednesday. Working at the market has shown me that food can bring many types of people together. As a volunteer, I got to learn about farmers and business owners, and I got to taste the delicious food these people work hard to produce.

It’s important for GW students to get involved by volunteering or shopping at the market because this furthers our involvement in the Foggy Bottom community. While we may only be in D.C. to attend GW, we should contribute to the greater community because we are now a part of it.

Farmers markets are a great way to support small, lesser-known businesses that are too often forgotten in the shadow of larger, pricier grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. A simple trip to the farmers market can be a way to give back to the community we spend four years in and get fresher food than you could at a grocery store.

This hidden gem changed my perspective on local farming and local foods: Rather than spending the last of my GWorld money on the same food Whole Foods has each week, I’d rather give back directly to these farmers and businesses that rely on our community.

I feel more connected to Foggy Bottom and the community here because of my semester volunteering. Students who have time should get involved, too. This market operates right on our campus, and we should get to know our community better. Supporting local businesses is a fun and easy way to start.

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