Geneseo senior hopes to unite town through local food share

How much do you know about the food you eat? Think about it: Can you  look at your plate every night and know exactly where each morsel comes  from? The scary thing is, you probably can't. Most of us don't know where  our food comes from or how it's been processed. Senior Maddy Smith wants  to change that.

Smith has been heavily involved in her Campus Auxiliary Services Ambassadorship  in Entrepreneurship that she received in March 2013 from the Center  for Inquiry, Discovery and Leadership. Her ambassadorship, titled Think  Local Geneseo, promotes eating more locally grown foods. Her goal is  to not only make students more aware of the origins of the food they  eat, but also make everyone in Geneseo more conscious of local eating.

Smith's project has a large focus on food; however, she has an underlying  motive. Smith wishes to improve the community's general opinions of  the university students and ease the dissonance between the two sections  of the community.

“I've lived here for two summers, and I've had [a number of people]  tell me 'We love it when the students leave for the summer,'” she  said.

Comments like this made her want to change that perspective. She feels  the best way to improve relations would be to unite the town and the  university through something we can all relate to; that's where food  comes in.

One of Smith's biggest ideas for convincing Geneseo to eat more locally  grown food is by welcoming to Geneseo the Good Food Collective, a multi-farm  produce and food share program.

This allows the people of Geneseo to pick up fresh, locally grown  produce for 10 straight weeks for a set fee - $240 for a base share  and $350 for a family share. A base share includes enough vegetables  and some fruit to fill about three grocery bags each week. The food  share begins Oct. 7 and runs through Dec. 13, and registration ends  Oct. 1.

“I got really into local foods while I was interning with the Northeast  Organic Farming Association of New York, and I have a lot of friends  at other colleges … that have programs like this,” Smith said.

“I think the things that unite the college and the community won't  necessarily be the food share, but the things leading up to it like  the farmers market and local food events like dinners,” she said.  “Through the food share program, [everyone will] be picking up their  food every week, and [we can] make an event out of it.”

Most of the upcoming events will take place at the local farmers market  held every Thursday afternoon from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Main Street until  October 17. From baked goods to potted plants to prepared food, the  farmers market offers an array of local products that go beyond fresh  vegetables and fruit.

On Thursday Sept. 12, CAS chefs will hold a free cooking demonstration  at the market. Visitors can shop with the chefs themselves while they  teach people how to look for locally grown foods. Come October there  will be a series of local food and farming guest speakers on campus.

All events taking place at the farmers market and further are posted  at the Think Local Geneseo Wordpress site.