Local Food Night, a once-per-semester dining event, will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Redifer Dining Commons, in the South Food District of Penn State’s University Park campus, This semester's event will be unique -- it will be the first time that student-grown produce has been served in campus dining halls. The newly formed Student Farm Club (SFC) is providing romaine lettuce for the meal.
SFC president Keirstan Kure, senior in plant science, said, “We are excited to see student grown lettuce in the dining commons. Thanks to Penn State Food Services for their continuous support of this initiative."
The SFC is growing the lettuce hydroponically in the greenhouses on campus.
“It is truly bringing the food system full circle, from production to consumption, which provides a great opportunity for students to learn about and be engaged with the food system,” said Kure.
Redifer Chef Stephane Gawlowicz said he appreciates having access to local produce and is glad to support the student farm as they develop their production capacity.
The SFC will be present at the event to share information about the benefits of eating local, other projects of the club and the vision for a Penn State Sustainable Food Systems Program and Student Farm.
The local meal at Redifer Commons is offered once per semester. For an upcharge, students can select a meal made with ingredients sourced from within a 150 mile radius of Penn State University Park. The meal encourages students to eat locally and to become more mindful of where their food comes from. Meal plans are not required to attend the event.
An interview with Redifer’s Chef Stephane, as well as the full Local Food Night menu, can be found on the Student Farm Initiative website.
The Student Farm Club was founded as a means to encourage students of all disciplines to learn about food systems, including the importance of sustainable agricultural practices, food security and conscious consumerism.
Members of the SFC have the opportunity to gain hands-on farming and greenhouse experience and to learn more about where their food comes from. Club members also coordinate and participate in community engagement events and cooking classes such as the Cooking Collaborative, an event designed for students on tight budgets. The goal of the SFC is to establish a fully functioning student-centered farm on campus that will support an interdisciplinary food systems curriculum, provide food for the dining halls and the campus community and provide education about food systems sustainability to the public.