Courtesy of LaunchU, the Campus Advantage Resident Success Program.

With a steady increase in farmers markets across the USA, the search for homegrown eats is getting easier for college students — and more popular, according to some student marketgoers.

By Sarah Duis (@SarhaDuis) | USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture listed 4,685 farmers markets in their market directory. Five years later in 2012, that number had risen to 7,864 — a nearly 68% increase.

The USDA credits this rise to “the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm.”

Hailey Hennessey, a senior at Indiana University South Bend, says she gets 95% of her groceries at nearby co-ops or farmers markets from spring through fall, but she wasn’t always so locally-minded.

Hennessey says she had an awakening of sorts while watching Food, Inc. at a friend’s house during Christmas break of her freshman year. The 2008 documentary takes a critical look at the corporate food industry.

“It really opened my eyes and got me questioning my food and my practices,” says the 22-year-old general studies major and sustainability minor.
Hennessy thinks there’s a trend among college students to opt for locally-grown food, “but only after they find out how the food they were originally eating is grown, raised and processed,” she says.

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