KU Student Farm: Growing Sustainability

Local food insight from Greg Beverlin
January 7, 2011, 3:55 am
Filed under: Local Food with Greg Beverlin

Greg Beverlin

Greg Beverlin is a student coordinator for the KU Student Farm, and he has been very involved in the local food movement in Lawrence. He was vice president of Environs last year and a coordinator for the local food group in Environs for two years. He works as a student employee at the Kansas Biological Survey with Kelly Kindscher and Kirsten Bosnak (and me), where he assists with growing medicinal plants and grinding them for medicinal testing. This is his last semester at KU, where he is majoring in Environmental Studies. Greg comes from a farming background–his parents own land in Hillsdale, Kansas and his mom and sister use it to garden tomatoes, basil, jalapenos, pumpkins, winter greens, sugar snap peas, green peppers and strawberries. His family also owns Hillsdale Bank Bar B-Q, where Greg Beverlin Sr. uses local ingredients in his Italian sausage.

Greg has learned a lot in the past couple of years about local farming through his experiences with his parents, Environs and KU. This has helped shape his views of the food system and his personal well being. Here is Greg’s perspective on eating locally.

“For me, personal health is of great value. It affects the way I think, how I move and how much energy I have in the tank to take on the day. When the caffeine and adrenaline begin to run dry, it is my health that keeps me going. My health is a direct reflection of the ingredients in my diet. Carbs, antioxidants, vitamin C: these are just a few of the fuels to quench my body’s thirst.

A few years ago, I began to look more in depth into the foods I’ve so carelessly consumed all my life, I realized that more often than not that I did not like what I saw. I was now faced with the scary realization of not knowing:

Greg gardening at the student farm summer 2010

Not knowing where my food came from, who grew my food and what ingredients are in my food. Dextrose, glucose, sucrose … where in the world did these ingredients come from? I probably did not want to know. My solution? I decided it would be better to base the majority of my diet on foods whose origins I was familiar with: local farms. Not a lab, a factory or a sea of monocrops coated in a cloud of toxic fumes to act as a shield against the natural world. Local farmers, whose faces I could recognize at the farmer’s market. The farmers who stood by their word that their products were of the highest quality for my health and the health of the environment. This created a connection among the farmers, the food I eat, and me that was built on trust.  I knew what I was getting, and it made me feel good.”