Morris Healthy Eating Partners

The Morris Healthy Eating team was organized in 2009 to make fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods more available and accessible on the University of Minnesota Morris campus, in Morris, and in Stevens County. Morris Healthy Eating connects leaders in education, healthcare, and the food system with community collaborators to improve our community’s food environment.

A number of campus and community groups—with critical resources—continue to join the Morris Healthy Eating Initiative as the project develops.

Morris Healthy Eating is designed with 1,800 University of Minnesota Morris students at its core. Efforts will also as support healthy eating for Morris faculty and staff, their families, and all 5,000 Morris residents. Stevens County and greater west central Minnesota residents who work, shop, and seek services in Morris, the county seat and one of the largest communities in the region, will also benefit from a healthier food environment.

The Morris Healthy Eating initiative is led by the University of Minnesota Morris Office of Student Affairs, in partnership with:

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The Morris Healthy Eating initiative is led by the University of Minnesota Morris Office of Student Affairs, in partnership with:

Sodexo Dining Services

Sodexo provides 9.3 million meals every day for 6,000 clients in North America. The University of Minnesota, Morris and Sodexo have partnered to provide campus dining services since 2001. In July 2008, Sodexo was awarded a new 10-year management contract to provide resident dining at the campus Dining Hall, cafe operations in the Turtle Mountain Cafe, and campus catering, with an increasing focus on healthy foods and wellness.

Sodexo is a Pride of the Prairie local foods partner, sourcing a growing menu from local, sustainable farms. Sodexo formed a partnership with Food Alliance Midwest, a group expanding providing sustainable farm certification, to bring local sustainably raised fruits, vegetables, and some meats to the University of Minnesota, Morris through the institutional dining food distribution stream. Food Alliance Midwest recognized Sodexo with a Keeper of the Vision for a Sustainable Future award in 2005. The University of Minnesota, Morris’s chef was the first college chef featured in the Minnesota State Fair’s Minnesota Cooks local foods calendar.

Contributions to Morris Healthy Eating

Sodexo provides expertise in managing the campus food environment, including planning and implementing a contract mandated wellness plan that includes varied fruits and vegetables at all dining outlets as well as the possibility of discounts for healthful food items, calorie and fat content product labeling, and more. Sodexo’s current multi-year contract with Morris Campus included a significant capital investment to support a major Dining Hall facility renovation. The renovation, completed in summer 2009, dramatically increased the capacity for display cooking, made-to-order preparation, and the use of fresh, local ingredients. We anticipate more innovation and success as we move forward to reach mutually held goals to increase healthy food choices on campus.

Stevens County Medical Center

Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC), a comprehensive regional healthcare provider located in Morris, strives for excellence in the delivery of inpatient and outpatient care through co-operation with qualified healthcare providers; through the provision of appropriate facilities and technology; and through active promotion of health education among the public. SCMC provides comprehensive healthcare services to more than 15,000 west central Minnesota residents through its clinic and hospital.

In a partnership spanning 15 years, SCMC provides health services to Morris Campus students through an on-campus clinic. SCMC physicians serve as Morris Campus students’ primary care physicians through the University of Minnesota, Morris Health Service. Health Service has nearly 10,000 student contacts annually with extremely high levels of student satisfaction.

Contributions to Morris Healthy Eating

As a respected healthcare provider, SCMC brings medical expertise, nutrition expertise, and valuable health-related resources to the Morris Healthy Eating initiative. Stevens Community Medical Center is also one of the largest employers in Stevens County and offers on-site dining for patients, families, and staff.

Community Food Assessment—2009

Dining At Work: Stevens Community Medical Center Cafeteria Survey, August 2009

SCMC staff members are very likely to eat on site. Over 100 SCMC staff members completed a cafeteria survey. Three out of four reported that they eat at least three SCMC cafeteria meals each week. Staff members report high satisfaction with with SCMC’s food offerings and affordability.

Morris Healthy Eating Community Food Assessment


Programs: Provide Education for people of all ages on healthy food choices.

SCMC programs and activities include more education on good food choices.

Programs: Provide visual messages at UMM Health Service & Stevens Community Medical Center on Morris Healthy Eating initiatives; facilitate patient referrals to increase access to high quality nutritious food.

Visual messages on MHE initiatives are being developed for SCMC and UMM Health Service.

Policies: At Stevens Community Medical Center, serve more fruits and vegetables and create a food plan. Adopt campus and community work place healthy eating policies and practices.

A wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are being served each day in the SCMC cafeteria.
A planning group including John Rau, CEO; Roger Speiker, Dietary Manager, Joan Goering, MD, and Sue Dudding, Nutritionist worked with other Morris Healthy Eating leaders to identify the SCMC Morris Healthy Eating work plan.

Pomme de Terre Foods, Inc.

The mission of Pomme de Terre Foods (PDT) is to “provide our community with quality natural foods and local products, promoting care for the environment in a spirit of cooperation and volunteerism.” PDT has grown considerably since its founding as the Prairie Dog Store in Pine Hall on the Morris campus in 1971. PDT moved to downtown Morris and incorporated in 1975 as a nonprofit corporation, Pomme de Terre Foods, Inc. Today PDT provides many unique and healthful grocery products to Morris and the surrounding communities. PDT is the region’s largest retail grocer of locally raised grains, meats, cheese, dairy, eggs, honey, and frozen vegetables. PDT also carries Native Harvest wild rice, maple syrup, and soups, as well as organic, vegan, and gluten-free foods.

Contributions to Morris Healthy Eating

PDT is a drop site for weekly vegetable deliveries from two Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. PDT participates in University of Minnesota, Morris farmers markets, showcasing and selling a large selection of local and fair-trade foods that are a part of their regular inventory in downtown Morris. PDT provides a firm historical base for healthy eating in Morris, fostering a committed, knowledgeable, and active membership that has published two very popular cookbooks.

Pomme de Terre Foods website Pomme de Terre Foods on Facebook

Pride of the Prairie Local Foods Initiative

The University of Minnesota West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership works with citizens in the watershed to create and sustain healthy ecosystems, strong local economies and vibrant, self-reliant communities. The Partnership is the lead partner for the Pride of the Prairie local foods initiative, connecting local farmers with local residents to provide healthful foods raised much closer to home than the 1,500 to 2,000 miles most food travels to U.S. dinner plates. US. Dept of Agriculture data shows that for each dollar U.S. consumers spend on food the portion that goes to farmers dropped from 41 cents in 1950 to 19 cents in 2006. Local foods systems invest in local farms through a shorted supply chain and support farmers more directly with a greater portion of the food dollar.

Founded in 2001, Pride of the Prairie is a collaborative effort of the University of Minnesota’s Morris campus, Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and West Central Research and Outreach Center; Sodexo Dining Services; Land Stewardship Project; Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota; Pomme de Terre Foods (PDT); Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance; area farmers, and the Upper Minnesota River Valley community. The initiative’s Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign represents:

  • A brand that identifies the Upper Minnesota River Valley region and its abundant supply of local, sustainable, healthy foods;
  • A campaign that helps people understand food systems and to make ethical and sustainable choices;
  • A chapter with partners representing the various sectors of a local food system, working together to promote healthful, sustainable and ethical food choices.

Contributions to Morris Healthy Eating

Pride of the Prairie, through the West Central Partnership, contributes expertise on local food systems, convenes action teams, provides resources to support increased access to fresh foods raised in the region, and facilitates links to university and area resources for Morris Healthy Eating. The partnership provides collaborative leadership for building capacity and advancing positive systems change.

Community Collaborators

​A number of community collaborators have added their critical expertise and resources to the founding lead partners. Morris Healthy Eating seeks additional partners to positively impact the food environment for Morris, Stevens County, and beyond.