When Steve Finn '02 MBA, was digging up potatoes and plucking tomatoes from their vines last summer, he conjured memories of time spent on his Uncle Buddy's farm in Pennsylvania during his teens.
Manager of Sodexo Dining Services at St. Ambrose, Finn's boyhood memories were sparked while he worked a small plot of land at the St. Vincent's Center, along with members of GreenLife, the environmental club at SAU.
The garden project is part of a contract Sodexo has had since the mid-1990s with Des Moines-based Loffredo Fresh Produce Co., to provide the St. Ambrose community with locally-grown food.
The produce distributor, with a building in Moline, has contracts with Midwest-only farmers. "There's a big difference between getting your produce out of California or locally," Finn said.
Summers, Finn also gets vegetables from the GreenLife plot. Last year, GreenLife harvested 162 pounds of tomatoes, 30 pounds of zucchini and 28 pounds of carrots.
Sodexo also is helping the farmers. "It's not hit or miss like at a farmer's market," Finn explained. "Every week, the farmer knows he will be selling 10 bushels of a product."
Finn actually has a bigger dream. "My vision," he said, "is that we have a farmer that can pull up to the dock here, and I'll say, 'We'll take it all."