By Kathryn Rensing
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day, a national celebration of “real food” and the importance of sustainable food systems, throughout October.
The UM Office of Sustainability will host its annual Food Day Festival and Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday (Oct.18) on Galtney-Lott Plaza. The event will feature a variety of local vendors and farmers, along with informational tables for campus food and wellness groups. Participants will be able to purchase fresh produce, try food samples and learn more about local food systems.
“The purpose of Food Day is to introduce students, faculty and staff to ways they can participate in our local food system,” said Kendall McDonald, project manager with the UM Office of Sustainability. “The event highlights those working in food sustainability in Oxford, including farmers, farmers markets, local organizations and businesses, and campus groups. People are often pleasantly surprised by how easy and fun it is to support local and while also decreasing the environmental impact of their food choices.”
Additional UM-sponsored Food Day events include a field trip to Home Place Pastures in Como, Mississippi on Thursday, October 11, during which students will see first-hand a sustainable pastured animal operation. Transportation is provided through the Office of Sustainability, but spots are limited and registration is required. Reserve your spot here.
“Meat production can be one of the most resource-intensive practices of our food industry, but when supporting a responsible farm like Home Place Pastures, animal, environmental and human wellbeing are taken into consideration,” McDonald said.
The week of October 15, UM’s student-run restaurant Lenoir Dining will feature a menu created from locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. Reservations are required.
Food Day campus activities will wrap up on Friday, October 31 with a “Spooky Compost Sift-a-Thon,” which offers volunteers a hands-on opportunity to learn about the Ole Miss Compost Program and help sift through the finished soil amendment. Volunteers who come in costumes can win prizes.
“Including a composting event in our Food Day observation is important, because food waste is such a critical component of our food system,” said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the Office of Sustainability. “It helps students think about what happens to food after it leaves our plates, and the impacts that has on the environment, economy and human health.”
Community organizations are celebrating Food Day as well. Good Food for Oxford Schools will host Food Day programming on October 24 at Oxford Elementary School. Volunteers opportunities are available.
The Oxford Community Market will also host a kid-friendly “Haunted Harvest” on Tuesday, October 30, from 3 p.m – 6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion. The community market will remain open until late November.
To learn more about Food Day on campus and in the Oxford Community, visit https://sustain.olemiss.edu/foodday/.