Since the early 1990s, the Del Mar Farmers Market has awarded scholarships to students who are currently enrolled in higher education and either work at the physical market or behind the scenes during breaks from school.
The Del Mar market is a non-profit organization, one of the few in the county. Each week participating vendors pay a small percentage of their margin to the market. In turn, the funds are used for the scholarship program and are awarded to a variety of community organizations, such as, the library, Community Connections, the new Safety Center and the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley.
This summer the market granted $7,000 in student scholarships.
“This is one of my favorite things about being involved with the Farmers Market” said Lisa Renner, scholarship director, “With the soaring cost of education and the debt that these students carry post-college, it’s a privilege to provide a little financial assistance. All of these students help make our market a community treasure.”
This year’s recipients include an owner/vendor, children or grandchildren of vendors, a spouse, and a fiancé of a vendor.
Sonja Knowles, co-owner and operator of The Passionate Palate, bakes delicious cakes and pastries with her mother. Knowles, a senior at SDSU, will soon complete a BS in foods and nutrition, and hopes to expand her business and take more culinary courses.
Sarah Jessica Parra, a family member of KG Growers, specializing in potted plants, recently said “The Del Mar Farmer’s Market scholarship program has made a huge impact on my college experience. It gives me the chance to focus more on school and less on the cost after I graduate. I’m very grateful for the board of directors who continue to be supportive of my education!” Parra is in her final year at UC Davis where she studies psychology and biology, and researches child memory and brain imaging.
Elma Binuya, of Blue Heron Organic Produce, attends Kaplan University and studies nursing.
Aracely Vega, of the Valdivia Farms, is in the Vista Adult Education Regional Occupations Program studying to be a phlebotomist. Aracely wrote, “I am very appreciative of this kind gesture as it will help finance my education.”
Tyler “TJ” Wiesler, of Peggy’s Pasta, is a first-year student at Cal State San Marcos.
David Lowry, of the French Cuisine is pursuing studies to become a physician assistant at Mt. St. Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.
Two granddaughters of Annie Hogervorst, the egg vendor, Elena and Eva Nevarez, each received scholarships for the second year in a row. Elena is graduating in political science and has just completed an internship in Washington, D.C., and Eva is an art student at Cal State Long Beach.
In the past, two other Hogervorst grandchildren have also received scholarships. Eva commented, “Without this scholarship it would be very difficult to pay for all the little things that a college student depends on throughout the semester. I greatly appreciate the scholarship because it allows me to focus harder on my studies and accomplish more in a short amount of time.”
By shopping at the Del Mar Farmers Market you are not only getting the most fresh and delicious produce of the season, but you are also giving back to your community and supporting higher education.
The market operates Saturdays, from 1-4 p.m., in the Del Mar City Hall parking lot between 10th and 11th, west of Camino Del Mar. Bring a reusable shopping bag and come hungry! Visit www.delmarfarmersmarket.org; Facebook: Del Mar Farmer’s Market; Twitter: @DMFamersMarket.