Kale! Kale! The gang’s all here … in an Ohio State greenhouse growing veggies for students

There’s a new spin to eating on campus.

Ohio State’s Student Life Dining Services department and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences have teamed to grow some of the produce served in the university’s dining halls.

In a greenhouse run by the college’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, plant experts from the department, food experts with Dining Services and student volunteers oversee hundreds of robust kale, basil and romaine lettuce plants.

After harvest, the crops go into such dishes as Caesar salads, caprese sandwiches, and kale and bacon tarts (recipe here), all served in campus eateries.

Systems like this one are part of the growing “farm-to-table” movement. Farm-to-table systems aim to shorten the distance as much as possible between where a food is produced and where it’s consumed.

“It’s a great privilege to have the opportunity to grow our own food.”—Zia Ahmed

Fresh from the Buckeyes’ backyard

  • Horticulture and Crop Science staff “have taught us so much,” said Lesa Holford (pictured above, right), corporate executive chef with Student Life Dining Services. She said she’s more than pleased with the project’s first fruits: more than 230 pounds of greens and herbs in the first three months.
  • Zia Ahmed, senior director of Student Life Dining Services, said, “One day (the project) may lead to a significant amount of production coming out of our own backyard to feed our students. … It’s a great privilege to have the opportunity to grow our own food.”

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