Kenyon College leads the nation in farm-to-college programs. Nearly 40% of the food served in our dining hall comes from local sources. The program is unique as well in the ongoing relationships we’ve established with area farmers, creating a dependable alternative to the global market for small-scale family farmers.
Our program is motivated by a number of factors. By contributing to a sustainable food system, this program helps preserve the rural way of life that is greatly valued by Knox County residents. At the same time, we provide higher quality food for students at an affordable cost. By linking food in the dining hall to the curricular and cocurricular life of the college, we provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the holistic approach that is an essential part of liberal education.
In response to the growing demand for information about Kenyon’s farm-to-college program, two students conducted a summer internship with the dining service and subsequently composed a paper detailing its operation. The students have subsequently presented this work at numerous state and regional conferences. In this way we hope to provide a case study of a successful farm-to-college program to help other institutions that are trying to begin or expand their local food programs.