The fall season is a time of giving, sharing and of course, the seasonal harvest. And that’s exactly what Students for Sustainable Agriculture’s (Sus-Ag) Fall Fest is all about.

This past Friday, Oct. 28, Sus-Ag put together their third annual harvest celebration, featuring on-campus clubs and organizations as well as New Paltz and Hudson Valley-based farms and vendors.

“We have [this event] on campus just because there’s a need for students to be exposed to the greater community that they’re a part of, bringing together our campus bubble with the Hudson Valley community,” Sus-Ag president Billie Golan said.

She described Fall Fest as “a glorified farmer’s market,” as the weekly Thursday campus market was replaced in lieu of this event. Many vendors from the weekly farmer’s market tabled, such as Print Club, selling their Fall Fest and SUNY New Paltz themed tees, Hippies For Hope, Phillies Bridge Farm Project, GrokBites, Calmbucha, Macaroy’s and more.

Sus-Ag gave out harvested squash and corn from their micro-farm on campus, as well as their freshly harvested habanero peppers, from which they made their own hot sauce. Golan walked around with a basket of fresh apples from Jenkins-Lueken Orchards, located on Route 299 West. Other farmers from the area also sold fall harvest such as pumpkins and gourds.

A handful of the student clubs that attended were Metal Club, Geology Club, Sculpture Club, Geography Club and Cosmic Club. Many of these clubs sold their own handcrafted trinkets, such as Metal Club who sold jewelry such as earrings and necklaces of all shapes and sizes and Geology Club who sold their own wire-wrapped stone and rock pendant necklaces, gathered and cut from local materials; some even from the Shawangunk Mountains. Fall Fest also featured a waste bin for people to dispose of old phones, batteries and other electronics in a sustainable manner.

For this semester’s Fall Fest, Sus-Ag teamed up with the SUNY New Paltz chapter of Oxfam America, which was tabling for their campaign against chicken processing and factory farming, as well as New Paltz Modern Art Collective, who was painting a mural in the center of the quad during the event.

Despite the brisk weather and the strong afternoon breeze, many students, faculty and community members walked around from table to table to observe what all the vendors had to offer, rosy-cheeked with warm cider in hand, also provided by Jenkins-Lueken Orchards.

Local farms such as Acorn Hill Farm and Damn Good Honey Farm attended, selling different varieties of goat cheese as well as double chocolate and dark chocolate cherry goat milk fudge and a large selection of handmade, artisanal soaps, respectively.

Along with all different types of vendors, Fall Fest featured a slew of new musical acts including local student artists Johnny Owens, Blueberry Collective and others.

Kayla Faria, a first-year psychology major, sang in one of the musical acts with some of her friends. As a first-year student, she appreciates how events like Fall Fest on campus allow her to get to know other people while also exposing her to what’s around in the area.

“A lot of other campuses don’t have a time where people just come together and appreciate that fall has come, even though it was snowing yesterday which was outrageous,” she laughed. “But it’s nice that you have everyone coming together with things they’re good at, everyone expressing who they are and what they love.”

This story first appeared in The New Paltz Oracle on November 3, 2016.

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