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Program Post: Local Universities Serve Up Local Food!

Robin and Bridget at UNCA

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Local Food Campaign shares that they don’t only help area restaurants and grocery stores source local food; they help universities, too!

Seasonal Produce Profile

From ASAP’s Local Food Campaign

Our Appalachian Grown™ partners stretch beyond restaurants and grocers to area universities. We work with any local business that buys food from family farms in our region, and colleges all around us are committing to doing just that!

Recently, we’ve been working with UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson College (WWC), and Appalachian State University (ASU), providing them unique farmer profiles to hang in their cafeterias that feature the Appalachian Grown certified farms they buy from. That way, students can put a face with their food!  And, we offer support to connect these institutions with new farmers and products.

College students and their administrators want increased access to local foods on campus, and the food service providers that run campus kitchens are responding to the demand. These institutional environments are not always the easiest markets for family farms to sell to. The requirements to become an approved vendor can be barriers. But, these schools and their food service staff are working hard to break those barriers down.

ASU is offering a local burger from North Fork Farm in their cafeteria to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. UNC Asheville recently invited Bridget and Robin from the Local Food Campaign to explain the Appalachian Grown branding program to students and offer up information for them to find other local food options around the region. (Pictured at the top of this page; the school turned the image into a local food banner for their website!).

WWC has long been a leader in providing local food in their cafeteria thanks to their flexibility and commitment to buying from the college farm and garden crew, and they continue to find new opportunities for more local food options to offer staff and students. The university’s president and dining services general manager will sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment, pledging that WWC will procure 40% “Real Foods” annually by 2020.

We are happy to support these institutions in their efforts to purchase from our region’s farms. Their buying power can have a BIG impact on our regional farm economy.

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