BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Ever heard of the freshman fifteen? Well, Western Kentucky University is creating a way to increase the nutritional value of the food they serve while creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly supply chain.

For the first time, students at WKU will consistently offer student-driven produce, meat and dairy products through on-campus dining.

What You Need To Know

  • WKU is the first university in the state to have consistent farm to campus food available for on-campus dining restaurants

  • 30 to 50 students will help produce the crops

  • The farm has many greenhouses

“You don’t really know how much resource or effort goes into taking a plant from its seed all the way to its full maturity, and it was very fulfilling to see that at the end,” said Charles Judd, a former student of the program. 

The farm-to-campus program will allow 30-50 students each semester to be a part of the process of their food consumption and teach them how their food arrives on their plates.

The meals WKU Chef Gilbert Holts makes will include produce which may have been picked from the ground two hours before it enters the students’ mouths.

“I can come out sometimes myself and see exactly what I’m getting, and, you know, can’t get any fresher than what we’re getting right now,” said Holt.  

The farm is also home to many greenhouses which shelter some crops, including broccoli and Brussel sprouts, during harsher seasons. 

Destinee Williams, a student in the program, explained how the greenhouses are built for extreme weather.

“We have fans that are in between the plastic, so that will help keep installation in. It’s also going to help if there’s ever a huge load of ice or snow from it caving in,” Williams said.  

Though Judd has graduated from WKU, he still implements practices he learned from the program in his eating habits, which he says he wouldn’t have otherwise known.

“I have tried very hard to keep a lot of my purchases on the sustainable side. So I won’t eat fruits out of season, or vegetables out of season. Just simple things like that. I don’t think I would’ve learned had I not had the horticulture part of my studies,” Judd said.