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Asbury University will host Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer at 11 a.m. on Oct. 10 for a special ceremony to celebrate its membership as a Kentucky Proud University. Other potential guests for the event include state senator Tom Buford, state representative Bob Damron and Wilmore Mayor Harold Rainwater.

Kentucky Proud is a program organized by the Department of Agriculture to promote the purchase and use of farm products grown within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The first private university in Kentucky to achieve the designation, Asbury has partnered with Pioneer College Caterers to maximize the use of locally grown foods in Asbury’s dining hall.

“This partnership with the Kentucky Proud initiative allows our community to advance our commitment to health and wellness through ready access to farm-fresh products,” said Paul Stephens, associate dean for student leadership development. “Our students are incredibly grateful to Pioneer College Caters for their great work in facilitating their desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This partnership also allows Asbury to clearly communicate the pride and gratitude we feel in being members of this great Commonwealth. ‘Kentucky Proud’ really is a perfect description.”

Asbury's Mission Farm Project teaches students sustainable farming techniques.The Kentucky Proud “Farm to Campus” kickoff will take place just outside the Student Center on Asbury’s campus in Wilmore, Ky. Following the announcement, guests are welcome to join Asbury’s students, faculty and staff for a Kentucky Proud lunch in the cafeteria.

In becoming a Kentucky Proud organization, Asbury joins several area farmers, restaurants and food vendors in their efforts to promote healthful eating habits that benefit local citizens and the state economy. The emphasis even extends to the educational curriculum of the University through Asbury’s Mission Farm Project, a cross-disciplinary class that puts sustainable farming principles into practice.

“The steps the University is taking toward more local, sustainable foods demonstrates to us how much our opinions truly matter to them,” said student body president Isaac Archer ‘14. “Our campus has expressed a strong interest in building a better relationship with our surrounding community, and we see this is a major step in building that lasting relationship. We appreciate Asbury University and Kentucky Proud for theirs efforts in advancing our cafeteria and our lives.”