Local vendors, businesses and student organizations lined up on central campus Wednesday to share with students the importance of sustainable local produce during the 4th annual Local Food Fest.
Iowa State students, faculty and Ames community members attended “Local Food Festival: An Adventure in Eating” Wednesday on central campus. Attendees were able to sample a variety of locally-grown foods, receive information from organizations on and off campus and get involved with the local farmers.
“We are trying to get students to understand that there is more to food than the industrialized food system,” said Emily Coll, administrative specialist at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “That they can buy from a local farmer so it’s just as safe, it’s healthier and it’s better for the environment.”
The Local Food Festival had an expected visit of 2,500 attendees, Coll said.
Some of the free samples included cold brew coffee and ice cream from the Wheatsfield grocery store gazpacho from Iowa State dining.
The Live Green! Initiative on campus handed out reusable bags as attendees entered the event in order to promote a more sustainable shopping experience.
Gym-N-Eats, a first time vendor to the festival, offered a variety of dry roasted crickets and protein bars.
“I’ve already tried crickets before but these ones were different, they were a little more intense,” said Haley Burney, a 5th year student in elementary education.
One program from campus that was at the event was Iowa State’s Horticulture Research Station Community Produce program. They gave out apples as a way to promote how the program provides fresh and healthy produce to students on campus.
“The goal of the committee is to make students, staff, faculty and anyone else on campus aware of the local food options,” said Nick Howell, farm superintendent at the Horticulture Research Station.
The produce that is delivered to campus is grown and harvested by students.
“We try to turn all of this into learning experiences for the students,” Howell said.
By exposing students on campus to different way of purchasing foods, vendors hoped to spread the message that shopping locally not only supports the environment but the Ames community members and local businesses as well.