Food Services supports Pennsylvania businesses with purchasing efforts

In an effort to partner with local farms, manufacturers and businesses, Penn State Food Services has developed guidelines that encourage state companies to partner with the University and give Penn State students a taste of the Keystone State.

During the 2008-09 school year, over 16 percent of Food Services' total purchases met its PA/Green standards. Purchasing manager John Mondock said his department met with the Culinary Support Services Office, including corporate chef Bill Laychur and executive chef Mark Kowalski, to develop the food service guidelines for Pennsylvania products.

"Our goal is to develop direct relationships with PA vendors and proactively work with local farms and purveyors," Mondock said. "We’re looking for products that are either grown or processed here in Pennsylvania."

Food Services purchases from more than 65 Pennsylvania vendors who provide products that meet the Food Services standards. This enables the unit to support local companies, maintain environmental practices and educate students on the industries of the state and what it can offer.

Some of the Pennsylvania-approved companies include Heinz, Furmano Foods, and Mexamerica Foods. These in-state businesses encompass almost 14 percent of Food Services' annual purchases.

"Purchasing this way is beneficial on many levels," said Lisa Wandel, director of residential dining. "We're always finding new ways to be environmental, but by buying locally we can be green and support our state's economy as well."

To be distinguished as a Pennsylvania product, at least 40 percent of its raw materials must originate from within the state or it must be processed or manufactured in the commonwealth. Fresh produce or other unprocessed foods must be grown in state.

"This is an ongoing initiative," Wandel said. "We are going to continue to seek out Pennsylvania companies that can offer what we need. I think it's a nice addition to our environmental goals, and students are beginning to notice."

Another part of this initiative is the PA Pride Series, a showcasing of local fare in the on-campus dining commons. This semester Tait Farm of Centre Hall, Pa., and Hogs Galore or Julian, Pa., introduced their products and services to students in Waring and Findlay commons, respectively. Two more PA Pride events are being scheduled for next semester.

For more information on the PA/Green standards or on how to do business with Food Services e-mail Mondock at xjm4@psu.edu or call 814-865-6386.

Contacts: 
Last Updated November 25, 2009