New market touts eco-friendly vendors

When entrepreneur Rana Sabeh couldn't find available vendor space to showcase her discount natural products business, she decided to create her own alternative "green" market.

The Orange County Green Market debuts Aug. 6 at the Irvine Valley College. Everything from eco-friendly cleaning supplies and services, repurposed accessories, natural skin care products and Sabeh's own business, Healthy Bargains, will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays in the college's parking lot.

"I figured that if I'm an eco-friendly vendor trying to get out on the market and I can't, then there must be others like me who are also having a hard time," Sabeh, a Huntington Beach resident, said of her decision to launch the market.

With room to fit up to about 80 vendors in the college's spacious Parking Lot 4, Sabeh has about 30 vendors lined up for the opening weekend with more expected to sign on as the market grows.

No environmentally friendly vendors will be turned away from her market, she said.

"I really want to build a community, for the market to unite what I call, the 'greenies,'" she said.

However, the market is also built on a foundation of education, she said.

Some of the vendor spaces will be occupied by nonprofits which advocate to raise awareness of "green" lifestyle practices.

"I also want to pull in people who don't know about living green and educate them to see how it can fit into their lifestyle," Sabeh said. "It's an opportunity for them to understand that it's a win-win for their health, families and for the environment, as well."

The market also has an additional educational component for IVC's green initiative and business students: free vendor space.

While details are still being worked out, a limited number of students will be able have access to real-world entrepreneurial experience of running a small business — something Sabeh wishes she had access to in college, she said.

"What Rana is doing is doing is very exciting for us at the college," said Jeff Hurlbut, the college's director of facilities and maintenance. "Moving forward, we're trying to gear things and events so students can have interaction in it."

The college hosts seasonal vendors such as pumpkin and tree lots as well as the occasional craft or car show, Hurlbut said.

Although the market came too late to be worked into this semester's curriculum, future semesters may hold the opportunity for students to earn course credit for their participation, Hurlbut said.

"I don't know yet what's going to happen," Hurlbut said. "But, I'm excited to see what [students] will do with the opportunity."

If You Go

What: The Orange County Green Market

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Saturday beginning Aug. 6

Where: Irvine Valley College, Parking Lot 4, intersection of Jeffrey Road and Irvine Center Drive

Cost: Free admission and $2 daily parking


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