From The Register-Mail
Helmut Mayer is rather modest when he explains why he began buying locally produced food to incorporate into menus he develops for Knox College.
â€œMany things here are student driven,â€ said Mayer, the collegeâ€™s director of dining services. â€œIâ€™m a no-bars-hold kind of guy and the students here are too â€” not beating around the bush.â€ So when Mayer, 61, heard students demanding not just organic food, but locally produced food, he stepped up the challenge.
â€œThereâ€™s a very high demand here for locally grown. Organic used to be the thing, but kids know organic can be mass produced â€” industrialized,â€ he said. â€œLocally grown is the big thing now.â€
This year marks the third year Mayer will be purchasing produce through the areaâ€™s Local Growerâ€™s Network… For his efforts to incorporate Galesburg area-produced food into the meals served to Knox students, faculty, and staff, Mayer recently was honored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. The Alliance created the awards to recognize what it calls â€œthe creative, innovative and pioneering local food activities in Illinois.â€
He was one of 18 recipients of the 2011 Golden Beet Award. He was selected in the category of â€œFarm to School.â€
Mayerâ€™s nomination for the Golden Beet stated: â€œFor several years, Helmut has made a special effort to purchase locally produced food for dining services at Knox College. He beats the drum for local food and educates staff and students about it. He was also interviewed for the â€˜Wa$stedâ€™ show on the Planet Green Network.â€
Mayer said he was â€œtotally surprisedâ€ by the award, but honored.