Asbury partners with Kentucky Proud Farm-to-Campus program

By Joel Sams
Senior News Writer

Asbury University has partnered with the Kentucky Proud Farm-to-Campus initiative, a project of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture which encourages the use of locally produced foods on college campuses. Asbury’s participation in the program was announced at an event outside the Johnson cafeteria on Thursday afternoon, followed by lunch in the cafeteria, which featured a special Kentucky Proud menu.

According to Todd Goepper, Asbury’s food service director, the decision to use more local products stems from a desire to practice good stewardship.

“We started getting into it through the mission farm, and also Dr. Gray kind of promoted this,” Goepper said. “Sharing what was in a meeting the other day, it’s a shared desire to promote a healthy eating environment and help students understand how they can be good stewards of their body.”

Goepper says that changes in cafeteria options will take place slowly.

“I think we’re walking on new ground now, and I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens overnight,” he said. 

Though Pioneer College Caterers already used quite a few local vendors before the Kentucky Proud announcement, some students were unaware of differences between foods. Goepper says that students may not have noticed some of the changes simply because the foods were not marked as Kentucky Proud items.

“The signage isn’t up to par yet with Kentucky Proud, but we’re working now on some signage that has the Kentucky Proud logo on it,” Goepper said. “I think that’s going to help, so that students know they’re eating local stuff.”

Local products already used regularly in the cafeteria include apples from Boyd’s orchard, pork chops from a farm in Casey County and fresh eggs from Asbury’s mission farm. 

Goepper says that while local foods will provide healthier choices in the cafeteria, the not-so-healthy foods won’t go away.

“Everybody’s still going to love french fries, and everybody’s still going to want the Wendy’s chicken breast, but it’s like some of those Weight Watchers commercials—you can have a cookie, but you don’t need to eat the whole box,” Goepper said. “We still have choices here. It’s about the ability to make good ones.”

Senior Tay Brandt says that he didn’t notice the changing cafeteria options at first, but he likes knowing that some foods come from local sources. 

“Honestly, I thought we were eating some generic food like I got when I was in elementary school, where it was processed and put in a can,” he said. “So I’m actually kind of happy to see that we’re getting Kentucky-grown food here in the cafeteria. It’s good to see that.”

Junior Hannah Bracken says she likes using local produce because she knows that real people benefit by it.

“I’ve always known people who are local producers of food, and I know how much that helps families,” she said. “If that’s who we’re actually getting that stuff from, then it’s really cool to know that.”

Bracken says she also enjoys knowing the sources of the locally-produced items in the cafeteria.

“I use the omelet bar, and they have the pictures of the chickens—it kind of freaks me out, but it’s really cool to see that,” she said, laughing. “I think that it makes it more realistic, instead of just thinking that your food comes from who knows where, produced by who knows who.”