Written and Photographed by Michael Nguyen

Unruffled by October’s brisk weather, we donned our plaid shirts and North Face’s and left campus to explore U-M’s student-run campus farm. The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) annually hosts an event to celebrate sustainable food culture and to feature dishes with very local ingredients.

Upon arrival, we thought, “What could be more quintessentially Midwestern than a Fall Harvest event, complete with bundles of hay, a game of Bags, country music performances, and pick-up trucks in a gravel parking lot?  A carnival of bucolic amenities awaited us. There were stations of arts and crafts and a booth set up for the hanging-donut-eating contest, with donuts from Washtenaw Dairy. The chili pepper tasting station challenged the bravest of tongues, featuring locally grown peppers.  

There are few experiences more honest and fulfilling than eating food right where it’s grown. This is what food’s motto should be - local, vibrant, and naturally delicious.

Standout entrées:

  • Roasted carrot and cranberry soup
  • Pumpkin gnocchi
  • Vegan beet cake and beet juice

The textures and colors on my plate echoed what we experienced in the vegetable gardens and planters. If you haven’t walked through a local vegetable garden, I implore you to get off Farmville and Harvest Moon (did anyone else play that game?) and go find one. Saunter through its rows of rhubarb, kneel down and stare into the soul of a kale bush, and breathe in the aroma of a lavender plant. Above all, know what food is like at its humble beginnings.