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IUPUI Produce Market offers food for thought

May 19, 2015

“Food for thought” isn’t just a slogan for the people involved in Healthy IU -- it’s a way of life, and health.

And the next IUPUI Produce Market, scheduled for Thursday, May 21, is part of that ongoing mission. This month’s event will begin at 11 a.m. on the first floor of the food court of the Campus Center. It will feature the latest cooking demonstration by chef Roger Disher, who often whips up interesting concoctions to show how food is prepared. This month’s dish will be Strawberry Fields Salad.

For the IUPUI market, production starts locally. Starting in June, fresh fruits and vegetables will be available from the campus garden on New York Street, west of Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium.

“We like to use local, fresh fruits and vegetables at our Produce Markets,” said Julie Anderson, the communications specialist for Healthy IU. “Our customers, many of them students, are interested to know that a lot of our food comes from our own gardens whenever possible.”

Produce market options

Locally grown fruits and vegetables are popular items at IUPUI Produce Markets. | LIZ KAYE PHOTO

The produce market became a monthly campus tradition in 2012, and helps Healthy IU raise awareness of the positive impact locally grown food offers. Markets usually are held the third Thursday of each month. The schedule is adjusted from time to time to coincide with other similar events, such as a campus health fair or a new school year, to help inform incoming students who don’t yet know about the markets or urban gardens.

A University College wellness committee conceived the idea of a produce market. The committee included the following units:

  • Office of Auxiliary Services
  • IUPUI Food Services
  • Healthy IU
  • Office of Sustainability
  • University College
  • Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
  • IUPUI Campus Health
  • Office of Campus Facility Services
  • School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • IU School of Medicine Wellness Committee
  • Human Resources Administration
  • Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • School of Physical Education and Tourism Management

The produce market is only one of the efforts organized by Healthy IU. Other efforts include individual and team events and competitions, and educational events designed to help IUPUI employees become savvy consumers.

“A lot of our focus is on nutrition,” Anderson said. “We want to create an education-based environment for the student volunteers and customers who take advantage of the produce market. We even have a produce guide developed by our registered dietitian, Steven Lalevich, that helps our volunteers answer customer questions at our produce market events.”

Healthy IU has used “taste-and-tell” surveys on IU campuses across the state to learn more about employee goals and desires for vending machine items.

“We want to get healthy snacks into our vending machines that students and employees truly enjoy,” Anderson said. Early returns from the IU Bloomington campus have been positive, she noted, and Healthy IU plans to expand the initiative at IUPUI this year.

For more about the locations and products, check out the healthier vending machines website.

The goal, Anderson noted, is to “make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

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