The modern era of one or Purdue Agriculture's greatest traditions, the Purdue University Ag Alumni Fish Fry, reconvenes on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m. EST in the Toyota Blue Ribbon pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Fish Fry has evolved over the years, and this one features another twist. The speaker(s) will be a pair of world-class leaders- from Purdue itself. In the past few years, major political figures have often dominated the podium with a keynote address.
In earlier, raucous years when the Fish Fry was clearly more about fun and frivolity than substance, the podium might be precariously located under the giant paper meche creation of a large bird, or else the stage would feature an outhouse, or other such nonsense. Roars of laughter filled the Purdue Armory on campus for decades.
The raw-edged jokes and outright crude scripts to skits may be gone, but the spirit of oneness that the Fish Fry is meant to develop remains on target. It's all about Purdue ag alums getting together and promoting both Purdue and agriculture at the same time.
Donya Lester, executive secretary fro Purdue Ag Alumni, is pleased that the program features Purdue's two recent winners of the international award known as the World Food Prize- Philip Nelson was so recognized in 2007, and Gebisa Ejeta received the honor earlier in 2009. Both will combine forces to address the topic of 'Assuring Global Food Security." It will give the audience a unique opportunity to see two experts on food production and food safety together on the stage at one time.
As a special touch, Lester notes that this pair are not only Purdue faculty members, but also Purdue Ag Alumni. Nelson won his award after developing breakthrough technology for storage and transportation of fresh fruit and vegetable products utilizing bulk aseptic food processing. Through this technique, inert nitrogen gas inside containers allows the product to be stored at room temperatures without fear of spoilage.
Ejeta, originally from Ethiopia, developed sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and a parasitic Striga weed. Because of his hybrids, production of sorghum has increased dramatically in Africa. That's raising the hope that more food will be available for millions of people in Africa.
Tickets for the fish fry, which now traditionally features Indiana yellow perch and pork tenderloin as the main fare, are $20 each. They must be purchased in advance. Check with your County Extension office, or contact Purdue Ag Alumni at 765-494-8593, or email: [email protected].