Sustainability and Accessibility Brought to you by UMass Students. By Madeline Terrio

AMHERST‒Tucked away in the Student Union sits The People's Market, a student run grocery store centered around sustainability and accessibility. With student employees who strive for social justice in food production in the community, The People’s market aims to prove itself as a business “run by students for students.”

The People’s Market was founded 44 years ago by Ellen Gavin ‘76 and Gail Sullivan ‘76. The two women created the business with the idea that it would be a collaborative non-profit grocery store that could provide students with healthy food options that simultaneously aid the world’s social and environmental justice causes.

Students often come to the People's Market to study while they enjoy their food. Photo by Madeline Terrio.

As one of the oldest student run businesses on campus, The People’s Market continues to run with collaboration in mind. The market is a cooperative and collaborative effort by all its student employees. All employees are co-managers so they equally share responsibility and jurisdiction.

Vivian Yee is a junior and has been working at the market since her freshman year at UMass.

Co-manager Ashley Registre reorganizes the toasting station. Photo by Madeline Terrio.

“When I got to school I wanted to get involved in social justice and making a difference on campus,” said Yee. “That’s exactly what The People’s Market embodies.”

Yee said that even though she has always been interested in doing her part for the community, she hadn’t been exposed to the world of sustainable food until she started working at the market.

According to Co-manager Vivian Yee, bagels are the most popular item at the People's Market. Photo by Madeline Terrio.

“We as students get firsthand say at what we put in the store,” said Yee. The co-managers prioritize selling local product but also make sure that everything they sell doesn’t negate the store’s values and environmental ethics. Yee recounts a time where the store used to sell Naked Juices but then after the managers realized the juices were produced with the use of palm oils, they stopped selling them in the store. Palm oil production is a huge factor in deforestation.

Yee says that although the dining halls are sustainable, they have a more corporate feel than the market.

Co-manager Jacqueline Cote sits at the register. Photo by Madeline Terrio.

Sophomore Elizabeth Bartosiewicz frequents the market in between classes, loving the selection they have to offer.

“I feel good knowing that I am doing my part in doing good for the environment,” said Bartosiewicz. “When I walk in and see the people working behind the counter, I know that they have my own and the environment’s best interest at heart.”

Approaching it’s 45th year on campus, The People’s Market continues its mission to meet it’s customers needs all while performing the challenging task of working towards total sustainability.


Madeline Terrio

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