Stillwater News Press

Business

October 3, 2009

OSU promotes state products

Oklahoma State University Dining Services has launched another aspect of its Farm to University program.

Dining Services Director Terry Baker and Kerr-Drummond Assistant Food Services Manager Vedda Hsu created Farm to University for OSU’s Creativity Challenge in February — and won the competition. Their proposal was designed to bring fresh, healthy food to the university, reduce costs and benefit the environment.

Since launching the program in the spring, Baker and her staff have been integrating more locally made and grown food into the university’s food.

On Wednesday, Earth Elements Farm of Lexington was the first to take advantage of a new aspect of the program, which is designed to introduce students to products made in Oklahoma. From her booth in the Student Union, owner April Harrington offered free samples of granola, crackers, cookies and brownies, all made with ingredients Harrington buys from local producers.

Part of the Made in Oklahoma program, she said, is educating people about why it is important to buy locally: “Freshness, creating a local economy, supporting local farms.”

It is also an opportunity to reach out to the community, Baker said.

She and OSU Dining Services teamed with the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center to get more Oklahoma-made products into the 30 campus dining locations, including catering services, she said.

FAPC Business Planning and Marketing Specialist Andrea Graves has played a big role in the program’s success, Baker said, because she works with companies that make products suitable for the Dining Services.

The plan is to feature a different business — whose products are available across OSU — at a Student Union booth each month. Next month’s featured business will likely be either Spencer’s Cinnamon Rolls or My Bigmama’s Kitchen, graduate assistant Yeon-Ho Shin said.

“I’m so excited I can be actively involved in this program,” he said. “I think we’re going in the right direction. It’s great for the local economy and good for sustainability.”

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