Twice weekly at 9:30 p.m., volunteers bring food donated by Davis restaurants and stores to tables in Central Park. Anyone who wants the food is then free to take what they want; the cooked food usually goes first. This is the Davis Night Market, created by students at UC Davis to reduce food waste in Davis and to get food to the hungry. The market serves about 30 people on an average night, and the founders would like to build it into a daily operation. Any food left over goes in the “freedges”—community refrigerators like the tiny libraries you see in front yards around town.
Today we talk with two of the Night Market founders, Valerie Weinborn and Ernst Oehninger, about why they do this, the reaction they’ve had, and what they hope to achieve. She’s a veterinarian from Chile who has a doctorate in Food Science; he’s a PhD student in Natural Resource Economics and comes from a family of farmers in Brazil.