Indiana State University Newsroom

Cooking up a sustainable future

March 5, 2014

Inside Indiana State University's Community Garden House, tomatoes, green peppers, lemons, onions and apples lay across an 8 feet by 10 feet dark wooden table. The aroma of spicy green peppers, lemon juice and cinnamon filled the air.

Each participant in a sustainable cooking class listened carefully as Olivia Goulding explained the steps in making salsa dip and the importance of canning and dry packaging food.

"When there is a natural disaster you won't have to stress about food because you will have it stored away. We have experienced this locally, when people have cleared out store shelves from the ice/winter storms," said Goulding, a home chef who led the class.

The session was one of five classes that is part of a new program called "From the Garden," offered by the university's Institute for Community Sustainability.

Goulding educated people on ways to save money and make their food last longer. By canning and preserving, food can last up to 15 years.

Each person in the class helped prepare and make the salsa that was being created by cutting up peppers or heating the lids for the jars.

A mother and daughter attended the class in hopes the daughter would carry on the tradition.

"This is a lost art. It was an everyday thing," said Angela Atterson, who brought her 8-year-old daughter Allie Venson-Atterson to the class. "It helps sustainability and helps my daughter understand the works in the garden and when the gardening season ends, it doesn't just end there. There are a lot of recipes you can create from food in your own backyard."

Other classes focused on the basics of food safety and preparation, vegan eating, pickling and brewing beer."So far we have had great attendance in each class, as of right now we are testing out the audience and structure," said Jana Pyle, project coordinator for the institute.

While the first round of classes targeted people from the greater Terre Haute community, Pyle said the institute plans to also reach out to another, more traditional, college audience.

"We hope to get classes where students, specifically, can come learn more about sustainability and learn to make great nourishments such as smoothies," said Pyle.

Photo: - Home chef Olivia Goulding led a class on canning and preserving food, one of five programs in a sustainable cooking series sponsored by Indiana State Univesity's Institute for Community Sustainability. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Joy Cook (left), Angela Atterson, Allie Venson-Atterson and Dana Goodwin were among participants in a sustainable cooking class series sponsored by Indiana State University's Institute for Community Sustainability. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Caroline E. Savage, interim executive director, Institute for Community Sustainability,

Writer: Beth Pickerill, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or