Shortly after Bill Clapp purchased a hog from a 4-H student at the Knox County Fair, he got a thank you note from Kyle Pae, the young farmer who raised him. “Thank you Denison University Sodexo for buying my 2010 market hog,” it read. “Hope you like bacon, sausage, and ham!” But the truth is, Clapp, district manager for the Sodexo foodservices company, and the Denison students he works to feed, won’t be eating Kyle’s hog, “Bernie.” Instead, Clapp purchased the animal—along with other hogs and a couple of lambs—on behalf of Denison to symbolize the college’s support of local agriculture and Ohio farming families.
Those animals were actually donated back to the young farmers who raised them, and the families are then able to sell them at market value to a processing plant. “These sales put more money into the families’ pockets,” says Clapp. “When the kids come up to you and thank you, they tell you what they’ll use the money for, often college funds or school trips.” Clapp purchased nearly 3,000 pounds-worth of animal between the Hartford and Knox County fairs, and he donated it all back to the families. Well, all except for one. Denison also purchased a market hog and had it processed. The 174 pounds of meat it yielded went directly to the Food Pantry Network, which serves Licking County.