Health food lovers had the opportunity to try numerous free samples at the Organic Foods Fair yesterday, which included various helpings of soymilk and yerba mate for its attendees.
The fair, held yesterday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UCen lobby, allowed visitors to meet with vendors of organic food, such as Silk Soymilk and Guayakí Organic Yerba Mate, and sample a variety of goods. According to Director of UCen Dining Services Sue Hawkins, who organized the event, the fair served to publicize the availability of organic foods on campus. Products are available in the Arbor, the Corner Store, Courtyard Café and the Store at Buchanan, as well as in the dining commons.
“We have these foods in our dining commons and in stores such as the Arbor, and they are labeled so that consumers know that what they’re getting is organic,” Hawkins said.
Guayakí Organic Yerba Mate vendor Luke Gernandt said his company’s main products are herbal teas with yerba mate, which Gernandt said provides natural benefits through its antioxidants, energy and nutritional value.
“By being here today, I wish to educate the consumers of a healthy stimulant which helps energize the mind in the ways that drinks such as Monster are thought to do,” Gernandt said. “With 24 different vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids, our bottled teas work like a Monster or a Rockstar would, but it does not poison the body like they do.”
However, Gernandt said his business’ highest priority is aiding the indigenous people and forests of several South American countries, rather than promoting the goods it sells. The Guayakí company coordinates the cultivation of its product with natives who partake in rainforest stewardship.
“Our company is not about the product itself, but about the restoration program in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil,” Gernandt said.
Fourth-year communication major Jasmine Lee said she visited the fair due to her interest in healthy eating.
“I wanted to come check this event out today because I’m very into organic foods,” Lee said. “It might be psychological, but it just feels like I’m eating healthier because I’m eating organic foods.”
Meanwhile, undeclared first-year Casey Sims said the event appealed to her because of the free food.
“I heard there was going to be an organic foods event today and I like how organic food promotes healthy living,” Sims said. “I also saw that there were free samples, so I decided to check it out and see what types of brands were there.”