Western Kentucky University (WKU) has launched a new farm-to-campus program that will bring locally grown produce and more to campus restaurants.
The university says it will be the first in the state to consistently serve dairy, meat and produce through a farm-to-campus program.
It also said the program provides a unique learning opportunity for students. “Through partnerships across multiple sectors, we are giving our agricultural and sustainability science students a hands-on experience, enhancing sustainability practices related to food sourcing and composting, and providing students with high-quality, WKU-grown food products,” said Leslie North, WKU’s director of sustainability, in a statement.
Between 30 and 50 horticulture and agriculture sustainability students will participate in the program each semester.
The program will increase the amount of locally sourced food served in campus restaurants, reinforcing the university’s sustainability goals by decreasing its carbon footprint, and food scraps will be returned to the farm for composting.
The program will also allow the university to ensure food safety, as it will have greater control over how the food served on campus is produced, according to the statement.
“The University Farm will utilize best management practices for soil fertility and water usage with an integrated pest management program to reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and water needed for food production,” WKU said in the statement. “This reduction will help ensure safer food while also protecting Kentucky’s landscapes and karst system from harsh agricultural practices.”