|University students initiate “Homegrown Alabama”|
The newly-formed organization was founded last semester when UA law student Joshua Segall made it his mission to move the community to buy local produce and support local farming. He started Homegrown Alabama with the help of students and professors to try and get Alabama-grown foods to be served on campus.
Wanting to expose the University and the Tuscaloosa community to Homegrown Alabama’s belief that buying local supports the farmer and is fresher, healthier, and better-tasting, Homegrown Alabama began developing a plan of action to incorporate local food into campus dining.
That action was consummated Thursday evening with the help of nutrition major Camille Caprio, president and house manager of Alpha Gamma Delta. Ms. Caprio, who was the lead organizer for the dinner, said that by entering the Greek community, the group hoped to create a buzz and to convince sororities to buy some of their food directly from farmers.
The first of several more events to come, which will include a farmer’s market at the Ferguson Center in the spring. Homegrown Alabama invited members of the Alpha Gamma sorority along with members and house mothers from other sororities to their kickoff initiative.
Several members of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and guests said they were pleased to be eating freshly-prepared food and glad to be supporting local farmers.
Accounting major Laura Marshall, 18, said, "It’s nice to eat fresh and know where your food came from."
Morgan Welch, a 19-year-old journalism major, said of the food, "I come from a small town where they always had fresh tomatoes, and it was really neat to have fresh tomatoes again. You don’t feel as heavy when you finish eating," she said.
Don Wambles, director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority and featured speaker at the dinner, challenged the Greek system to be a leader in bringing local food to campus. He said that he felt that the dinner was the beginning of great things to come and encouraged guests to continue to request local food on campus and at area restaurants.
"Here at the University, you’re a part of the Tuscaloosa community as well," Wambles said.
"If we can incorporate local produce here, we can incorporate it at every college in this state, and then we will have changed the face of agriculture in Alabama," Wambles said.