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Ole Miss Brings Local Produce to Campus During 2018 Food Day Festival

From farm fresh vegetables and hummus to food demonstrations and door prizes, the University of Mississippi Food Day Festival brought local farmers and vendors to campus Thursday, Oct. 18.

Food Day is a nationally recognized day observed annually on Oct. 24. Since 2011, The Ole Miss Office of Sustainability has been hosting this festival to celebrate Food Day and to promote healthy, local and sustainably-produced foods.

According to the website Sustainable Table, sustainably-grown agriculture refers to “farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.”

Gladne Harris, local farmer and president of Harris Family Farm, says it is important to inform people on the practices used to grow their food.

“I think that’s the biggest thing is educating people about where their food is coming from and what they can do to purchase healthier food or grow healthier food,” Harris said.

UM Sustainability Fellow Jade Chalkley says the festival is a way to support and advertise local and sustainably-grown food options to students.

“It’s important to showcase local produce because it gets students to come out to local markets as well as it gets them to support local, sustainable food systems in and around Oxford,” Chalkley said.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 11.30.53 AM
Local vendors sold everything from pumpkins to hummus at UM Food Day Festival Oct. 18, 2018. Photo by Gracie Snyder. 

Harris also recognizes the importance of events like this in teaching people about environmentally-friendly products.

“I think it’s unbelievably important for people to know where their food comes from because most of the time at a farmers market, the farmer that you’re buying produce from is feeding it to his own family,” Harris said. “So, he’s more aware of the practices that they’re using.”

With events like this that expose people to locally-sourced food, Chalkley hopes to present the benefits of sustainability. Similarly, Harris believes incorporating these practices in agriculture allows consumers to reap the advantages of sustainably-grown food.

“I think it’s good for the environment, but it’s also good for you, for your health, [and] for your wellbeing,” Harris said. “The more outside elements you bring in and that goes into your food, the less nutritious, the less healthy it is.”

The Office of Sustainability will continue to host events throughout the month of October to create awareness for local produce and environmental wellness. For more information and a list of events, visit the website at https://sustain.olemiss.edu/foodday/.

Story contributed by broadcast journalism students Gracie Snyder and Lauren Conley.

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