Local food movement hits campus

By Chris Main

Contributing Writer

The local food movement sweeping the nation has energized consumers and producers. The University community is no exception, with many students and faculty taking an active role in bringing local products to students’ plates.

According to DailyFinance, the shift towards locally produced food helps small farms stay afloat during a hurting economy. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where their food comes from and how it is produced. Local producers are often eager to discuss their products with interested consumers.

The University’s involvement in the local food movement spans both student life and education.

The University’s food service, managed by Parkhurst Dining Services, offers a variety of products from local businesses. As part of Parkhurst’s FarmSource program, at least 25 percent of their produce is purchased from local growers.  Parkhurst also holds a bi-annual dinner showcasing local producers and their products.

“Our embrace of buying local allows us to meet our guests needs with generally less processed products. We think it just makes good sense,” a Parkhurst representative said.

To increase student awareness, labels with the name and location of the producer are displayed near each local item. Examples of this include bagels from Georgie’s Bagels in Berwick, Pa., apples from Dries Orchards in Sunbury, Pa., pork products from Hatfield Quality Meats in Hatfield, Pa. and dairy products from Schneider Valley Farms Dairy in Williamsport, Pa.

“It is really interesting to see that the food that is going onto our plates is coming from the farms and fields around Bucknell,” Alex Thompson ’13 said.

Not all students have taken notice of the efforts of Parkhurst to buy local produce.

“I never really noticed the signs before—I guess I do not care too much about where my food comes from,” Tyler Chadwick ’13 said.

Faculty and students raise awareness of local producers both inside and outside of the classroom. Nancy White and Janet Knoedler, both professors of economics, teach a class devoted to the mindful consumption of consumer goods, including food.

White and Knoedler both belong to a local organization dedicated to community supported agriculture (CSA). A CSA delivers a box of local, farm-fresh food to a consumer’s doorstep each week during the growing season, making it extremely simple for consumers to purchase local products.

Students in White and Knoedler’s classes spend time talking to local growers and studying the effects of food production. The final project requires students to compile a list of local producers. Students are also asked to raise awareness of local producers in the University community.

“While not everyone may care about eating local food, it is at least nice to know that is available,” Kevin Shute ’13 said.

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