Local food programs strengthen regional ties
According to a feature story in the University of Minnesota publication, M, the Morris campus is the granddaddy of local foods in the University system, impacting how schools all over the region are feeding their students and how local farmers are making a living.
The Morris campus is a founding member of Pride of the Prairie, which promotes local use of foods grown in west central Minnesota. Campus food service provider Sodexo buys direct from area farmers whenever possible, a pledge that is written into its contract.
Buying local often cuts down on the distance food travels from farm to table, saving transportation fuel and carbon emissions. Buying local also pumps dollars into the area economy and builds a robust market for the region’s farm products. Here are some of the ways the University of Minnesota, Morris promotes local and healthy eating.
- The Morris campus is a founding partner in the Pride of the Prairie Local Foods Initiative, one of the longest running local food efforts in Minnesota higher education.
- The Morris campus was the site of Congressman Collin Peterson’s inaugural Home Grown Economy conference and presented at the 2010 gathering.
- Twice a year, the campus hosts a Pride of the Prairie Food Expo and Farmers Market along with a community meal featuring locally and organically grown foods.
- Local foods are served every day in the campus’s dining facilities and the campus food service provider is required by contract to purchase direct from local farmers whenever possible.
- The campus food service provider contributes to the West Central Research and Outreach Center’s annual Horticulture Night, demonstrating the preparation of locally produced foods.
- The Pride of the Prairie Local Foods Initiative is a partner in the Morris Healthy Eating program seeking to expand access to fruits and vegetables on campus.
Morris Healthy Eating
The Morris Healthy Eating project, funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, is working to expand the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits on campus, within greater Morris, and in Stevens County. Students are providing support for local farmers markets, tending an organic garden, and promoting healthy food choices. The Office of Student Affairs leads the Morris Healthy Eating project.