Good. Fresh. Local.

Nov 6th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, November 6, 2008

Students power growth of Dining Services program that taps into area food stuffs

UNL’s “Good. Fresh. Local.” program is blooming.

Now in its fourth year, the program taps into Nebraska grown and produced food products, incorporating them into housing meals programs at Cather-Pound-Neihardt and East Campus. The sustainable food project started offering Nebraska-produced meals once a month. Today, the program offers Nebraska products at every meal – with some of the products being offered at all housing food service sites.

“We have pizza crusts from McCook, apples from Madison, eggs from Ceresco, beans from Scottsbluff, potatoes from O’Neill and many other items from across Nebraska,” said Pam Edwards, assistant director of housing dining service. “When we started, we had some troubles finding items. Now, we get calls from producers wanting to help us out.

food prep
HUSKER FOOD PREP – Cathe Rosenlof, a food technician with Cather-Pound-Neihardt Dining Service, prepares peppers from a Nebraska grower on Oct. 31.

“Word has really gotten out on Good. Fresh. Local.”

Edwards proposed the local foods program after reading about a similar concept in a magazine. She received immediate support from Housing administration, and staff at Cather-Pound-Neihardt bought into the program – though there was some trepidation.

“When we were told we would start making things from scratch with these local products, all I could think about was the extra work we would have to do,” said Sandy Aden, a food technician in CPN Dining Service. “It was a lot of work, but everyone came together and shared the burden.”

Student response also helped the food service workers carry the extra work.

“The kids are loving this program,” said Aden. “We get comment cards and they are always positive. A lot of students make suggestions on items we should make.

“Basically, this is a success because of the student response. That’s why we do it.”

food prep
MADE BY HAND – Nancy Weber, a food technician with Cather-Pound-Neihardt Dining Service, molds pie crusts by hand on Oct. 30. The crusts were made with flour processed at the Humboldt Flour Company in Humboldt. Nearly all desserts made at CPN and East Campus dining services are made by hand with products purchased through the “Good. Fresh. Local.” program.

The program continues to offer a full meal service of Nebraska products once a month. Those meals draw faculty, staff, students and the general public.

“On an average night, we will serve about 550 meals at Cather-Pound-Neihardt,” said Joel Fogerty, manager of food services at CPN Dining Service. “Our Good. Fresh. Local. nights average between 800 to 900 meals served. The GFL Thanksgiving meal last year served more than 1,000 people. And, the GFL holiday meal (in December) served more than 1,100 people.”

To develop contacts with Nebraska producers, the GFL program works with UNL’s Food Processing Center, the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.

In the first year, about 25 producers worked with GFL. This semester, more than 70 Nebraska farms have supplied food items.

“GFL has provided an opportunity for interested farmers and ranchers to build a relationship with the university and work alongside UNL to create a farm to college program,” said Elaine Cranford, cooperative business development specialist with the NCDC. “We’ve heard very positive responses from the farmers and ranchers who are growing food for GFL, many of them have increased their production so they can continue to supply foods to UNL. This program has been a win-win.”

The next GFL meal is the Nov. 6 lunch at East Campus Dining Services in the East Union. Cather-Pound-Neihardt will host a Thanksgiving GFL meal on the evening of Nov. 20.

For more information, including a complete GFL meal schedule, go to

On the menu

Nebraska products served through UNL’s  Good. Fresh. Local. program include:

• Tortillas from Teresa’s Tortilla Bakery in Lexington
• Red Delicious Apples from Degroots in Madison
• Eggs from Eastin
• Eggs in Ceresco

‘Good. Fresh. Local.’ – An education contingent

Along with providing Nebraska grown products, the GFL program also presents educational information about the food served. Each item is labeled with facts about where it came from and the nutritional information. The program has also recently started posting “GFL Tidbits,” short fact sheets on the work that went into preparing a food item. As of Oct. 30, CPN Dining Services had 87 pounds of pumpkin frozen for fall dessert preparation. Here’s what went into preparing those pumpkins:pumpkins

Pumpkins provided by Bluestem Farms in Madison

• Pumpkins were washed by hand.
• Cut open.
• Seeds removed.
• Cooked.
• Scraped out of the shell.
• Pureed.
• Frozen for future baking.

— Story and photos by Troy Fedderson, University Communications

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave Comment