University Near Portland Supports Local Farmers with Annual Eat Local Challenge

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George Fox University’s menu on Sept. 27 will consist solely of food purchased from farms within a 150-mile radius of campus

For a seventh straight year, George Fox University’s food service provider, Bon Appétit, is doing its part to support local farmers through its Eat Local Challenge on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

On that day, the university will join more than 400 other Bon Appétit restaurants and cafés in creating a special meal that honors farms within 150 miles of their kitchens. Meals all will be made from scratch solely with locally grown ingredients.

For this year’s Eat Local Challenge, George Fox Executive Chef Michael Gillespie plans to highlight Yamhill County’s best with dishes like pan-seared wild sockeye salmon served with julienne carrots and micro celery and purple potato latkes with late-summer vegetable ragu and local plum sauce. The local bounty will come from purveyors such as Organic Brothers Farms, Mustard Seed Farms and Hill Top Farms.

“This is my second year of the Eat Local Challenge at George Fox, and it never gets old,” Gillespie said. “I really enjoy being reminded of how Bon Appétit uses the kitchen to nourish not only people, but also local economies and the planet. And as a chef, I love giving some well-deserved attention to the farmers and artisans who grow our food, bringing people together around good food while at the same time minimizing the impact of our food choices on the earth.”

Bon Appétit started the Eat Local Challenge in 2005 to encourage diners to look past the supermarket to the bounty of food growing all around them. Trying to cook a whole meal from entirely local ingredients requires creativity and resourcefulness – and pays off in unexpected flavors and a deeper sense of place, Gillespie said.

In 1999, Bon Appétit established a companywide initiative, Farm to Fork, which required chefs to buy as much local food as possible directly from small, owner-operated farms and artisan food-makers within a 150-mile radius of their cafés. Today, there are more than 1,000 Farm to Fork suppliers. Through them, the company’s cafés direct millions of dollars annually back into local communities, helping to nurture a sustainable food system and bring consumers the freshest food available.

“In addition to a delicious and seasonal meal that highlights our local bounty, we hope to raise awareness about some of the issues facing our local farmers and how we can all help to preserve our agricultural heritage,” said Denny Lawrence, general manager of George Fox’s Bon Appétit operation. “Here at Fox we will be featuring ingredients from more than 15 different farmers we routinely buy from as we prepare lunch in Klages Dining Room as well as several specials in both the Bruin Den and Villa Cafe.”

The Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 31 states.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier regional university and a “Best Value” school. More than 3,500 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Denny Lawrence
General Manager, Bon Appétit, George Fox University


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Denny Lawrence