The Campus Kitchen Project is a national organization that provides healthy meals to those in need. All of the meals are prepared and served by student volunteers. At this year’s 2012 Campus Kitchen Project conference, the Campus Kitchen at Kent State University won the Excellence in Programming Award for its outreach and programming efforts at the Haymaker Farmer’s Market.
The Haymaker Farmer’s Market draws a big crowd with each season. Over the summer, Campus Kitchen at Kent State student volunteers made a new partnership with the farmers. The students conducted food demonstrations and provided nutrition information for the customers, and the local community embraced the students’ efforts.
“I think we received the award because our students are committed to making a difference in the community,” said Ann Gosky, senior special assistant for quality initiatives and curriculum, and project advisor for the Campus Kitchen at Kent State. “And that’s evident. They’ve been excited about the project from the beginning and they’ve shared that excitement with other students.”
With this program, Kent State students are working to spread the word about the Campus Kitchen organization to the local community, as well as the farmers and vendors at the market. The students have developed a solid relationship with the farmers and in return, the farmers donate their excess weekly produce to the Campus Kitchen.
“The farmers are happy that the produce doesn’t go to waste, we’re happy because we have this great product and the community is happy because we’re using it to feed those in need,” Gosky said. “It’s a great partnership and that’s really the effort that was recognized this year.”
The farmer’s market program began over the summer and runs all year. It will continue the outreach at The Junction in Kent during the winter months.
A total of 33 schools across the United States have Campus Kitchens. The Campus Kitchen at Kent State started in March 2011 and served 60 meals a week. Today, the student volunteers prepare and serve 260 meals per week and a meal supplement to an additional 60-100 of those in need in the community. The Campus Kitchen at Kent State is open to all volunteers.
“I believe no matter your major or interest, you can find something at the Campus Kitchen Project that speaks to you and helps you better yourself and at the same time better the community in which we all live,” said Christopher Vogliano, a Kent State student majoring in nutrition and a regular Campus Kitchen volunteer.