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Harvest festival hosted in celebration of The Feast of St. Francis

| Friday, October 8, 2021

Campus Dining hosted Harvest Festival Thursday night, offering a wide variety of sustainable food options from local vendors including bison stew, smoked turkey, fall root vegetables and fry bread.

The Harvest Dinner was held at North and South Dining Halls to provide students with a healthy fall meal while celebrating the Feast of St. Francis and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Shannon Lipscomb | The Observer

Director of Sourcing and Sustainability for Campus Dining Cheryl Bauer worked with North Dining Hall Executive Chef Greg Larson and Vice President of Sales from North American Bison LLC Al Samuelson to bring the Harvest Dinner to students.

“It’s about learning while you’re here so let’s include food in that learning piece, but it’s also about bringing up some of the sustainability practices,” Bauer said. “[Sustainability] is all about taking care of the earth and eating things that are not only good for you, but good for the environment as well.”

Larson said he was delighted to be introducing thousands of students to healthier foods. He hoped they enjoyed the bison stew in particular, which he crafted for four days.

“Tonight is special because it’s the first time we’ve ever served bison in the dining hall,” Larson said. “We work with farmers and it’s really great to see them raise their families off the food they produce and to be able to serve that in the dining hall.”

Samuelson is grateful to have worked with staff at Notre Dame to incorporate bison in the meal.

“We try to do the right things in the right way for the right reasons and I like the fact that bison is a very healthy product, that it’s very sustainably farmed and that we treat the animals with a lot of integrity and care,” Samuelson said. “What the students are having tonight is absolutely delicious.”

The Feast of St. Francis, which occurred on Oct. 4th, was followed by events centered around St. Francis’s message of sustainability and appreciation of all things on Earth. The Office of Sustainability played a large role in bringing this event to life this year.

Sustainability Program Manager in the Office of Sustainability Caitlin Jacobs said this event was important to her in keeping Notre Dame true to its comprehensive sustainability strategy and carrying that over to impact students.

“Operationally, from a university standpoint, you know how we eat what we consume in the dining halls has a huge impact on what our university’s carbon footprint is,” Jacobs said.  “And we’re lucky to have as many options as we do on campus, there’s such plentiful food for us, so I think that food is a highly personal place to start your sustainability journey.”

Campus Ministry’s associate director of liturgy Kate Barrett said to wrap up the week, St. Francis Fest will be occurring in the Geddes Hall library from 3-5p.m. to give students the opportunity to learn more about the sustainability efforts on campus.

“It would be just a great thing to continue to come together as a university community, to keep thinking about how we can be part of the solution,” Barrett said. “Being part of the problem, but also using all of our resources to be part of the solution as well.”

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