YORK, Pennsylvania, November 11, 2004: In a recent survey
conducted among 400 students at Pennsylvania College
of Technology, 70% of the respondents said they care
about the source of their food and wish to support their
local farming community. Contrast this to the less than
30% who said they were watching their carbohydrate intake.
After four years of serving milk from a local dairy,
Penn College took a bold next-step and awarded a local
cooperative the 2004-2005 beef contract. With no additional
promotion, sales of hamburgers are already up 30%. Northern
Tier Sustainable Meats Co-op representatives attribute
the popularity of their burger to unbeatable taste.
Penn College may be a crowning example of how institutional
purchasing power can be leveraged to support local farmers,
but they are in no way alone. In fact, as part of a
burgeoning movement call Farm-to-College, a number of
colleges and universities across the nation are looking
to local farms to supply fresh, locally-raised products
for use in campus dining halls. Other schools purchasing
from local farmers include Yale University, Evergreen
College, and Bates College.
This winter, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable
Agriculture (PASA) is hosting regional Farm-to-College
networking sessions for farmers and college dining services
interested in starting local food projects in their
region. Farmers and food service directors will share
opportunities and obstacles to local purchasing, professional
expectations, product availability, and pricing structure.
Farmers are encouraged to bring product samples and
pricing lists. If you are farmer, food service director
or chef interested in attending one of the following
meetings, please RSVP to Heather House at PASA, 814-349-9856.