From the farm to Farm Lane: sustainable food at Michigan State
Published: October 1, 2015
With nutrient rich soil, unique weather patterns and distinct seasons, Michiganders share the benefits of a booming agricultural industry. At Michigan State University, the commitment to strengthen and improve that industry has been a core goal from the very beginning, dating back to the land-grant roots that situated MSU as a leader in groundbreaking agricultural research.
As students and faculty work to solve a diverse number of agricultural challenges, both locally and globally, the MSU community's access to sustainably sourced food options is growing. Thanks to partnerships and sustainable agriculture initiatives across campus, faculty, staff and students have sustainable, fresh food options year-round.
In accordance with the Cultivate Michigan challenge to source 20% of food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors by 2020, MSU has developed key partnerships with over 150 local vendors and over 300 regional vendors. Some items sold across campus include:
- Hudsonville Ice Cream, served at Holden Dining Hall and Brody Square
- Woody's Oasis Mediterranean cuisine, found at Sparty's, Brody Square and Wilson Dining Hall
- Paramount Coffee, offering organic and fair-trade options, served at Sparty's and available for staff and faculty through University Stores
MSU BeefServed in dining halls and the Eat at State ON-THE-GO Food Truck, MSU Beef is raised and processed entirely in Michigan through a partnership with MSU's Department of Animal Science.
MSU Student Organic FarmMSU's Student Organic Farm provides student-led, campus-grown and certified organic produce to MSU dining halls while also providing a location for sustainable agriculture research, composting, beekeeping, and a year-round Organic Farmer Training Program that educates participants on organic farming principles and practices.
Made possible by several passive solar greenhouses, the MSU Student Organic Farm offers a year-round Community Supported Agriculture program. For 48 weeks of the year, members receive locally-grown, organic vegetablesincluding kale, collards, salad mix, potatoes, beets, onions, carrots and squash.
Another way to purchase fresh produce from the farm is at the Student Organic Farm Stand, located at the Rock every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., running the first week of April through the end of October. Seasonal produce like eggs, spinach, tomatoes, raspberries, pumpkins and corn are offered at this convenient location.
Bailey GREENhouse and Urban FarmThe Bailey GREENhouse and Urban Farm, located at Bailey Hall, works in conjunction with Residential and Hospitality Services, the MSU Student Organic Farm and the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment as a student-led hoop house that grows mixed greens, spinach, herbs, and varying fruits and vegetables for dining halls.
The produce at the GREENhouse is grown in soil with composted pre-consumer food waste from Brody Square, allowing students to experience a sustainable food cycle first-hand. Harvested produce is also sold to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, the Eat at State ON-THE-GO Food Truck, Cowles House and Red Haven Restaurant.
MSU Dairy Store and MSU BakersProviding the very grateful MSU community with legendary ice cream and unique cheeses, the MSU Dairy Store makes, packages and sells their products at their two campus locations. With consideration to the challenges of food safety and health, critical research is constantly underway at the dairy laboratories to ensure industry growth and improvement.
Located right on campus, the MSU Bakers provide fresh baked goods to MSU for a variety of special occasions. From custom cakes to care packages, they ensure that Spartan sweet treats are accessible throughout the year.
In addition to serving the MSU community every day, these products are also sent to local and regional providers, ensuring that MSU's responsibly and sustainably produced food options are actively working to strengthen the Michigan economy and encourage environmentally-friendly agriculture.