A new week brings a new exciting story of a UNB student whose passion helped her carry out a fantastic project. The Brunswickan had the opportunity to interview Kaitlyn Harquail, a cheerful girl with an exciting story.
Harquail is originally from Dalhousie, New Brunswick, but she moved to Fredericton four years ago.
Her desire to make an impact on the world is what led her to studying Environment and Natural Resources with a major in Wildlife Conservation.
"I want to be able to help not only people now but have my work affect the future too," she said.
Harquail was initially in engineering and loved it. However, she realized it wasn't going to fulfill her desire to create a change and she switched faculties during her second year.
Harquail says she doesn’t regret going into an engineering program, “I learned many things I probably never would have, and it's a great asset in school and work".
After she finishes her bachelor's degree, she wants to explore a few different paths. However, she would also eventually create her own business, and what she has in mind is thrilling.
"Eventually, I want to settle down and create a business that makes it incredibly easy for the average person to be eco-friendlier".
This summer, Harquail was interning at The Ville, where she helped develop the Plastic Free Market known as the ECO Market.
"The ECO Market was an idea brought to the table before I was a summer intern, but as soon as I heard about it, I knew that I wanted to take it on as my summer project,” she said.
Originally, Harquail was hired as a Social Media and Marketing Specialist, but she proposed to fully take on the project as it was applicable to her degree.
Casey Gaunce and Adam Weaver pioneered the idea at The Ville Cooperative.
The Ville had previously launched a market stall, but they wanted to make it more eco-friendly. After a few weeks of planning, the ECO Market was born and has been running ever since.
What is fascinating about the ECO market is the influence they had in the community. The market was operating at the Garrison Night Market during the summer, and on Fridays at The Ville.
The response from the community was positive, as people wanted to consume local and eco-friendly products.
"People were surprised that we weren't just an average booth; we had it all!” said Harquail.
“Our booth had everything that was either eco-friendly or could help you be more eco-friendly at home,” she said, “all of the produce was grown on-site at The Ville, and all of the other products have to be sustainable, ethical, and local to be sold with us,".
At the market, paper bags are free, or you can take your reusable bags. For your leafy greens, you can purchase a small two-dollar fabric bag, and you will get fifty cents off your leafy greens next time you use it.
The ECO market has approximately ten vendors. You can find scrubbies, beeswax wrap, naturally dyed produce bags, and pure hand-made soap to mention a few.
The market is open Friday’s from 4:00-6:00 pm at 241 Canada Street until October 4th.
Following its last day of business for this year the ECO market will have a birthday party/wellness week celebration on October 5th.
Harquail has discovered she has an aptitude for business and has grown a lot from the whole experience.
"I have made many connections with people I would never have if I didn't take on this project! Typically, summer jobs in my degree program are outside in the forest doing labour-intensive work, but I got to see another side of my degree that I truly love. Without this experience, I wouldn't have found that I have a knack for business and that I would want to do something just like this for a full-time career”.
Harquail’s message to people who want to make a change in the world is inspired by the zero-waste chef Anne-Marie Bonneau.
"When it comes to making a change for our planet it's very important to remember that it’s not about having a few people being perfectly eco-friendly, it’s about having a lot of people being imperfectly eco-friendly that will make an impact," she said.