William & Mary students this semester are enjoying fresh broccoli, lettuce and other vegetables that are not just locally sourced, but actually grown with the help of the university's students.
Last spring, William & Mary Dining Services by Sodexo formed a partnership with KelRae Farm, a family farm owned by Randy and Michelle Gulden in Toano, Virginia, in order to provide the freshest and healthiest ingredients to William & Mary students.
“We have enjoyed working with William & Mary this summer, and I feel it has been a great learning experience for all of us. We are looking forward to an exciting fall with another great harvest and with their team as well,” said Michelle Gulden.
As part of the partnership, both parties agree upon which crops to plant, based on the seasonality. The partnership utilizes student sustainability interns and American Culinary Foundation apprentices to help work on the farm. The plants are harvested, transported to campus, prepped, and then go straight to the student’s plate.
Stephen Losee, executive chef for W&M Dining said, “This process ensures that W&M Dining is offering the freshest local products. It’s such a great way to learn about where the food comes from and the work that goes into it.”
For the fall 2016 semester, W&M Dining has been able to offer the following fresh items as a result of the partnership: broccoli, cucumbers/pickling cucumbers, a variety of lettuce, a variety of kale, green cabbage, late tomatoes, collard plants, kohlrabi, turnips and carrots.
These items are being used in the two residential dining halls on campus and by the W&M Catering Team. All scraps are composted by the W&M Dining Team. Any excess crops have been sourced to another local W&M Dining partner, Cavalier Produce.
The partnership is just one aspect of sustainability and health efforts on campus. W&M Dining already has a Campus Garden located behind Commons Dining Hall, that ensures that fresh herbs are available whenever possible. The program also focuses on waste reduction and energy conservation.
More information about W&M Dining sustainability initiatives is available online.