By STEVE BROWN
SEATTLE -- Organic and sustainable ag studies at Washington State University will receive a $5 million shot in the arm from Chuck and Louanna Eggert, the founders of Pacific Natural Foods.
In an announcement today, WSU President Elson Floyd described how the gift will expand the university's organic farm from four acres to nearly 30 acres. The expansion provides WSU with the largest organic teaching farm on a university campus in the U.S.
"This is a game-changer for the program," said John Reganold, WSU Regents Professor of Soil Science and Agroecology, who leads the university's organic agriculture major. "This investment by the Eggert family greatly expands the opportunities provided by the organic farm and major for students at Washington State University."
The gift is part of "The Campaign for WSU -- Because the World Needs Big Ideas," which has set a $1 billion goal to leverage the university's impact across the state, nation and world. About $680 million has been raised for far. The campaign is scheduled to conclude in 2015 in conjunction with WSU's 125th anniversary.
Pacific Natural Foods, which the Eggerts founded in 1987 in Tualatin, Ore., offers a wide variety of all-natural and organic food and beverages including soups, broths, non-dairy beverages and pot pies. The company's products are sold throughout the United States and Canada in mainstream grocery and natural food stores.