For the past three years, the University of Indianapolis has held an event on campus called Homegrown UIndy. This year’s Homegrown UIndy took place on the northeast side of Schwitzer Student Center, near the outside sand volleyball pit and basketball courts, on Thursday, Sept. 17.
According to Chair of UIndy’s Sustainability Committee and Assistant Director of Publications Jennifer Huber, the event started off small in 2013 and has become more popular with the students on UIndy’s campus each year.
“Homegrown UIndy is a chance to showcase locally sourced foods,” Huber said.
The main purpose of Homegrown UIndy is to help students understand where food comes from, according to Huber. Many students eat the food that is served to them without knowing where it has come from or the processes through which it was made. Huber also said that the promotion of this event is to help inform students if they ever question their food.
“I think it helps to open their eyes a little bit… to stop and think about where food comes from and how it gets to your table, and then what you can do with what you think is trash,” Huber said. “You can see that it gets turned into compost and that, in turn, can be used to grow more food.”
The event was put on by the university’s Sustainability Committee and University Dining Services. The committee and UDS also collaborate in the spring to help promote and encourage recycling in the home and in residence halls. The majority of vendors are from the Indianapolis area, and a couple are family of university staff members.
“We have Joy Armstrong’s family here,” Huber said. “Joy works on campus, but her husband and son are over there selling honey and mums, and he brought his demonstration bee hive.”
Armstrong is a medical assistant in the Health and Counseling Center.
One student at the event was junior exercise science major Erin Connor, whose first experience at Homegrown UIndy came from a First Year Seminar course. The professor at the time instructed all of the students in the course to attend the event and encouraged them to try new food.
Connor said that the most enjoyable part of the event is interacting with vendors from all over Indiana. Some vendors demonstrate how to make certain products, while others simply give out samples.
“The food here tastes really great, and it also makes me think about nutrition as an exercise major and student athlete,” Connor said.
Another student at the event, senior sports management major Da’chera Baker, decided to attend Homegrown UIndy because of Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli’s email promoting the event.
“The cafeteria was closed, and I was tired of eating [at] Streets, so I decided to try [the] new food,” Baker said.
Although Baker is a senior, this was her first time at Homegrown UIndy. She said several of her peers attended the event as well, which made it more enjoyable. Baker said that she enjoyed the vendor Traders Point Creamery the most.
“My favorite vendor so far is the smoothie man over there,” Baker said. “He gave me an organic raspberry smoothie.”