Ferrum News

Ferrum College's Dining Hall Staff Will Serve Food that Students Helped Grow in Local Garden


 Ferrum College students can take personal pride in what they eat in the College’s dining hall this fall because many of them are helping to grow some of the fresh produce on the menu. For example, the salad bar will feature yellow squash, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes and different varieties of lettuce – all being grown at a ¼ acre garden located at the newly built “Titmus Agricultural Center” on the west side of campus. The garden is part of both the Agriculture and Horticulture programs, and also ties into Ferrum’s new Environmental Planning and Development program and the 2009-2010 academic year campus-wide theme, “Sustainability: Becoming the change you want to see in the world.”

“We see this as a great way to strengthen student engagement,” explains Dr. Dave Johnson, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Ferrum College. “In fact, student engagement is the idea we were pursuing when we began discussing the “Farm to Cafeteria” pilot.”

Chuck English, a senior majoring in Agriculture Business, is one of the many students who have been integral in making this project a reality. He spent his summer tending the garden as part of an internship and is now enjoying the fruits of his labor. He proudly delivered the first harvest to Ferrum’s executive chef, Bo Bernard, in July. “I’m just really excited to be a part of this project,” explains English. “Hopefully this will get more and more people thinking about where their foods come from and they will ultimately decide to eat foods that come from our local farms.”

Chef Bo says this is just the beginning of Ferrum’s plan to put sustainability into practice. For instance, students who are enrolled in Ferrum’s August term will be participating in several projects dealing with sustainability. On Sunday, August 9th they will be out in the garden planting new crops for food and building box beds to put in the greenhouse for the fall/winter harvests. “That’s what sustainability is all about, growing your community,” explains Chef Bo. “If we can teach our students how to grow foods, then we can eventually create jobs, and we can give them good, steady incomes.”

Chef Bo says Mike Martin, Ferrum’s Dining Services Operations Manager, has also been working with area farmers to bring in fresh foods to serve to students. Dining hall menus will feature ingredients provided by local agriculture businesses, including Sweet Providence Farm of Floyd, Homestead Creamery of Burnt Chimney, Locust Grove Farm of Check, and Waterbear Mountain Farm of Floyd. Cheryl Elkins, Assistant Director of Dining Services, says, “Mike has been instrumental in pushing our sustainable efforts forward, and works tirelessly with the community to make sure we are moving in the right direction.”

For more information, contact the Public Relations Department at (540) 365-4300.

Ferrum College is a four-year, comprehensive, co-educational, liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs at a cost well below the national average for private colleges. For more information on Ferrum, visit www.ferrum.edu.