Farmers and West Virginia University employees who work for dining services, food procurement, restaurants or food initiatives are invited to the WVU Food System Symposium to explore the current food situation on the campuses and to discuss ways to include more locally grown foods on University menus.

The event takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center Salon C. Admission is free, but registration is required and can be found at

Hosted by the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center, the goal is to emphasize the potential of mutually beneficial “food hubs” and facilitate discussion between growers and WVU representatives about the University’s food needs, obstacles and opportunities.

The event aligns with the center’s goal of helping local farmers earn more of the $8 billion that the state’s residents spent on food last year. According to Tom McConnell, the program leader of the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center, a budding relationship between the University and those producers could mean great things for both.

“West Virginia’s small farms can’t compete in commodity agriculture, so by turning to food production, they can become profitable and sustainable,” he said. “A buyer as large as the University could give a reliable place for the small farmers to market their goods, and in turn WVU would get consistent, quality products to feed students, faculty and staff while bolstering the state’s economy — it’s truly a win-win.”

Other event highlights include a keynote address by Abigail Harper from Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food, a food show during lunch and a food discussion panel featuring WVU faculty and staff, representatives from local growers cooperatives and representatives from hospitality companies.

For more information about the symposium, contact Lisa Jones at 304.293.2715.

The WVU Extension Service provides educational opportunities to local communities through offices in all 55 West Virginia counties. WVU Extension Service’s programs are accomplished in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, civic groups and governmental organizations statewide and throughout the nation. To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.



CONTACT: Zane Lacko, WVU Extension Service 304.293.8986,

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