Students gather to learn to cook healthy, local food

Noah Oldham

Eating healthy, locally and on a budget may seem impossible for college students, but the UK Food Connection thinks otherwise.

The Food Connection hosted their first “Gathering at the Table” of the semester on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The event was designed to promote healthy, local, low-cost eating among students. The event brought students together to cook, dine and learn about better eating habits.

The event was led by Chef Tanya Whitehouse, Food Connection Learning Kitchen Program Manager, and a team of volunteers. Attendees got hands-on experience preparing the meal.

The fruit and vegetables served were locally sourced from the Lexington Farmers Market. The Food Connection also supplied their guests with information on what foods are in season and when, how to eat healthy on a budget and recipes for everything served. Throughout the night, the leaders offered their own tips about cooking, getting good deals and making food last.

“It is my hope that activities like this will get students cooking more,” Whitehouse said. “They have the ability that they can cook for themselves.”

She said the Food Connection is about eating local.

“It brings fresher more nutritious food to our tables. It’s better for our environment and reduces our carbon footprint,” Whitehouse said.

“We kind of have to cook and I’d like to not use a microwave all the time, Eileen Ramirez, a biology senior,  said about why she came to the dinner. “I like that they included saving tips.”

“It was really well done, Nick Pilcher, a civil engineering senior, said. “Everyone involved really knew what they were doing. It was really nice to see everyone come together and cook.”

“Cooking is enjoyable,” Amanda Hege, Director of Community Outreach at the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, said. “Cooking is fun and easy to do. Anyone can do it. It is easy to eat healthy and buy from local sources.”

She said eating local has better flavor, as well as supporting the local economy.

Any students who would like to get an interactive lesson in cooking, healthy eating and sustainable eating all in one place can attend another “Gathering at the Table” on Oct. 10 and Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m.