Food choice patterns are formed for many young people the first time they leave home and start buying food for themselves. What’s readily available in their new local communities and campuses? Whatever it is, that, along with information about how good dietary choices provide energy to work, study and play hard, is pivotal for shaping new consumption habits.

And that’s part of what’s driving the University of Guelph’s beefed-up local food program, which started emerging this spring. The university is finalizing plans to build a produce processing room on campus, which will allow it to prepare more vegetables procured from local farmers at the Elmira produce auction, as well as from direct connections with suppliers specializing in local and regional commodities, and from the agricultural research stations it manages in Bradford and Simcoe on behalf of the province.

I write about the university’s program in my Urban Cowboy column in today’s Guelph Mercury.