Spotlight on KenyonGAMBIER, Ohio (August 26, 2005) Kenyon students experience, first-hand, the tasty, healthy--and thought-provoking--transformations that have been taking place in the College's dining halls. Now, the wider world knows more about Kenyon's leadership role in using locally grown foods, thanks to a feature article in the August 24 New York Times.
The article, by veteran food writer Marian Burros, notes that Kenyon has made a major commitment to using local foods in its dining halls. "You get higher quality food and lower environmental impact," says Kenyon President S. Georgia Nugent in the story, adding, "We wanted to make a tangible commitment to the local economy." The article also quotes College food service director Niles Gebele, who helps coordinate a network that links Kenyon to a growing number of area farmers. Last year, the College spent $158,000 on local goods. This year, local food purchases will increase significantly.
The Times article points out that Kenyon was the site of this summer's second National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which brought more than 300 farmers, educators, community activists, and government officials to campus in mid June, to discuss the benefits and logistical challenges of linking consumers to nearby farms.
The selection of Kenyon as the conference site reflects the success of the College's "Food for Thought" program, which not only brings local meat and produce into the dining halls but also immerses students in the examination of food-related issues and the question of how food choices affect the local community. The program recently received a $250,000 grant to support student and faculty research as well as the creation of public programs and exhibits.