November 5, 2019 at 8:51 am

OHIO Student Farm Feeds Board of Trustees

Food students at Board of Trustees luncheon

Food students at Board of Trustees luncheon

The Ohio University Board of Trustees enjoyed a vibrant lunch sourced from the OHIO Student Farm and the OHIO Neighborhood while learning from three Food Studies students about the importance of supporting our local food system on Oct. 10.

The students shared their experiences studying with Dr. Theresa Moran, one of the university’s Sustainable Living Hub Coordinators, and the Food Studies program. Highlighting the success of the OHIO Student Farm, they talked about their reasons for studying food systems in Athens, Ohio.

The board luncheon, prepared by Ohio University Catering, featured a wide variety of fresh produce from the OHIO Student Farm located right behind the Innovation Center on West State Street. The buffet included student-grown beets, cherry tomatoes, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, peppers, and onions. Other items for the lunch were sourced from the the OHIO Neighborhood, a new distinction of local food procurement that includes items grown or produced within a 100-mile radius from the Athens campus. OHIO Culinary purchased food from producers such as Snowville Creamery and RL Valley beef to make the meal as local as possible.

While the group enjoyed their meal, Joy Kostansek began the presentation by sharing her experience of being Moran’s Sugar Bush Foundation Food Studies Graduate Assistant while completing an M.A. in Sociology. She talked about how interning with Community Food Initiatives and serving on the OHIO Cats’ Cupboard Food Pantry Board have helped to inform her decision to work in a career of food and agriculture policy.

Next, Margaret Gatonye, a master’s student in Environmental Studies and African Studies, shared how meeting Moran helped to connect her to opportunities in the Athens community. Through the Food Studies internship program, she helped the OHIO Student Farm and five local farms receive Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification. This is a third party audited food safety certification that opened these farms to selling produce to OHIO.

Lastly, Shelby George, an undergraduate senior in the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ nutrition program, told the board about how the Food Studies program and OHIO Student Farm helped her enrich her nutrition education. She has not only learned about food and its impact on the body, but how the products are produced, brought to campus, and who that impacts. This experience influenced her to apply to the Peace Corps, and she credits her experience working at the OHIO Student Farm with helping her secure her 2020 Peace Corp position as an Environmental and Food Security Analyst Volunteer. She will be headed that Peace Corp position in Malawi following her graduation in May.

Food Studies is excited to continue working with Catering and Culinary Services to showcase both student-grown food and the bounty of OHIO Neighborhood farms. Local food sourcing work is a critically important way to keep OHIO’s food dollars in our region and by purchasing regional food, students and community members can profoundly impact our food system ina positive way.

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