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Eat Local Challenge

Date: October 1, 2010

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Andrews University Dining Services, under the leadership of Bon Appétit Management Company, held its first annual Eat Local Challenge. A special meal was prepared entirely from ingredients sourced within 150 miles of Dining Services. The challenge was designed to help students, staff and faculty think and talk about local food, educating them on the environmental and economic benefits of “eating straight from the farm.”
“We are trying to help the community connect with what we are doing,” said Victor Lane, interim executive sous chef at Andrews University. “When people hear about these ideas, they begin to educate themselves more about what they’re putting in their bodies. This [challenge] says that Andrews not only cares about its students, but also about forming stronger relationships with people in the community.”
Bon Appétit has been managing Andrews University Dining Services since June of this year. For the past six years, some 400 Bon Appétit restaurants and cafés across the country have participated in the Eat Local Challenge. As part of their partnerships with college and corporate campuses, they work to educate communities about “low-carbon diets.” Other Bon Appétit programs address local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs and the connection between food and climate change.
Lane celebrated the company’s Eat Local Challenge by serving several of Southwest Michigan’s best dishes—two favorites were eggplant lasagna and spaghetti squash. The meals were prepared using ingredients from local purveyors, including the Andrews University Farm, Shelton Farms and Victory Farms, and were served to students during lunch. 
Food served during the Eat Local Challenge came
from a variety of sources within 150 miles including
the Andrews University Farm, Shelton Farms and
Victory Farms. (Photo: Darren Heslop)

“Knowing that they [Bon Appétit] did this makes me want to eat the food here even more because I know it’s coming from local sources,” said Steaven Davis, a psychology and Spanish major at Andrews. “It’s a good idea and will keep the local business growing and bring in more local businesses.”
Lane invited several area farmers to Dining Services so they could see the results of the challenge while also interacting with students. A display highlighting the importance of locally grown food was set up in the servery area. Signage promoting “We Can Eat Locally” was also on display.
“The challenge was a really good idea,” said Rhonda Dollente, physical therapy major, and Kevin Magdamo, theology major. “It says that we want to take a more active part. Using local food shows our dedication to the community and for the local farmers who might be struggling due to the recession. It also means that we care about the environment.”

-Written by Ashleigh Jardine, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104