University of Minnesota
University Relations
Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development

Buy Fresh Buy Local - Pride of the Prairie


A New Vision for the Prairie

“In April, 2001, our team of university and community members came together to begin the long and intricate process of using foods grown in the Upper Minnesota River Valley to fuel the humans who reside here. This simple concept is made complex by a loss of interest and skill in growing food for people, reliance on fast foods, centralization of terminal markets, deterioration of the regional processing infrastructure, institutional requirements, lack of access and availability, and misunderstandings about the legality of using local foods.”

- Audrey Arner, producer and organizer

Pride of the Prairie is:
Pride of the Prairie is a collaborative effort of the University of Minnesota (the Morris campus, West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, West Central Research and Outreach Center, and Extension), Sodexho Campus Services, Land Stewardship Project, Sustainable Farming Association, Morris Prairie Renaissance, Pomme de Terre Food Coop, Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance, area farmers and the Upper Minnesota River Valley community.

The Pride of the Prairie initiative began in Spring 2001 with a new vision for the prairie:

• Morris Prairie Renaissance Project’s community visioning process (a multi-year Blandin Foundation funded effort) identified a local foods initiative as asset building priority.
• UMM administrators re-bidding the campus dining services management contract asked the next management company to serve local foods: “The Contractor shall give first preference to products purchased from community based family farmers (to include organic produce) when the product meets menu requirements and price expectations.”
• The new UM West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership made a local foods initiative one of its first priorities, funding the Land Stewardship Project to lead the initiative and convene interested community members and groups.

"Seeds for the first local foods initiative on a University of Minnesota campus were sown. Today the program is one of the longest running local foods efforts in Minnesota higher education."

- Sandy Olson-Loy, Vice Chancellor, University of Minnesota Morris

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.