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Lenkaitis Talks Sustainability at NIU’s Edible Campus Meal Prep Program

February 27, 2024


2 minute read

Midwest Dairy proudly supports Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) Edible Campus Meal Prep Program (ECMPP) for a second term. This program will help Midwest Dairy continue to grow trust in dairy by reaching Generation Z college students, sharing dairy’s sustainability story, and building and strengthening the relationship with NIU to reach potential sustainability thought leaders.  

The ECMPP was created by Bryan Flower, a sustainability thought leader and NIU’s Assistant Director for Food Systems Innovation. He discovered that students who utilized NIU’s food pantry did not have a way to prepare and cook meals. To address this need and provide another outlet for using produce grown in the Edible Campus Garden, the ECMPP was born.  

The first ECMP class began in late January with Illinois dairy farmer Sarah Lenkaitis sharing dairy’s sustainability story with the students. She highlighted the sustainability practices utilized on her farm, including cover crops, manure management, and water recycling. Additionally, Lenkaitis talked about the technology used on the farm to allow them to be more efficient, namely the robotic milkers and other technologies. Students seemed intrigued by the discussion and asked insightful questions. In addition, students had the opportunity to cook the Undeniably Dairy Provolone Chicken with Mushroom Gravy recipe along with side dishes of brown rice and roasted carrots and beets.

Several other Undeniably Dairy recipes will be featured throughout the remainder of the ECMPP. Checkoff looks forward to continuing the dairy discussion with more ECMPP students and expanding our partnership with NIU in the sustainability realm.