Quantcast

12 Universities Leading the Charge in Serving Locally-Sourced Food

Food

Many cafeterias around the U.S. are working to provide students with healthy, sustainable meal options. To do this, colleges and universities are changing the way that they purchase and prepare food in their cafeterias and many of them are beginning to source food locally.


Universities can play a big role in their local and state economies: they provide jobs and attract new businesses to the community. Now, many of these institutions are taking their role a step further and investing in local agriculture by serving locally sourced food in their cafeterias.

Here are 12 universities leading the way in sustainability.

1. American University in Washington, DC, purchases roughly 36 percent of the food served in its dining halls within 250 miles of its campus. The university has also started a community garden on campus and hosts a drop-off location for local CSA initiatives. American University students conduced a survey that showed that by removing cafeteria trays, food waste and the number of dishes used per person declined significantly. In Fall 2009, the university eliminated trays in its Terrace Dining Room.

2. Boston University dining halls serve meal options that include organic, fair trade, free-range, vegetarian fed, hormone—and antibiotic-free and sustainably harvested food items to students. Their dining services department spends approximately 36 percent of its budget on food items sourced from 58 local farms and 81 local processors. Boston University also offers students discounts for using reusable mugs and composts the pre-consumer food waste produced for all meals.

3. Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, is committed to two primary reasons for sourcing local food for its dining services: to reduce carbon emissions from having food delivered long distances and to strengthen the local economy by buying from local farms and vendors. Bowdoin College currently sources an impressive 34 percent from local vendors and is dedicated to increasing that number every year.

4. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, purchases approximately 22 percent of its total food from regional sources. The dining department purchases seasonal produce through its partnerships with the local farming community and serves beef that is raised locally without growth hormones and daily antibiotics. The university composts about 850 tons of food waste from its dining halls each year.

5. Duke University's campus in Durham, North Carolina, offers eateries with both organic produce and antibiotic—and hormone-free meat and dining services spends 25 percent of its food budget on locally sourced items. Duke is also committed to limiting its amount of food waste. Surplus food is donated to food banks and both pre—and post-consumer scraps are composted.

Read page 1

6. McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, currently spends 47 percent of its food budget on produce from its own on-campus farm and from growers within 300 miles of the campus. The university also offers sustainably harvested seafood products and fair trade coffee across campus. All animal products served are hormone and confinement free and vegetarian fed.

7. Middlebury College in Vermont partners with 50 year-long and seasonal local vendors, including its own organic farm. The college's dining services currently uses 32 percent of their annual food budget on locally sourced produce, meat and poultry, eggs, soymilk and dairy products.

8. Since 2001, Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio began purchasing locally sourced food. That year, 5 percent of its food was locally sourced. Currently, 27 percent of the food served on campus is locally sourced and Oberlin College has committed itself to increasing that amount to 40 percent by the year 2020. The college also supplies its dining halls with produce from its own 70-acre George Jones Memorial Farm about a mile from campus.

9. In 2013, 27 percent of the University of California, Berkley's food purchases were locally grown, organic, fair trade or humane. Additionally, 38 percent of its food purchases were produced by locally-owned businesses. In July 2014, the university launched its Global Food Initiative to address food security in a way that is both nutritious and sustainable.

10. The University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign spends 25 percent of its yearly food budget on locally grown or processed food items. Campus dining services also exclusively serve fair trade coffee and almost all seafood is sustainably harvested. The university is also very committed to reducing waste and has enacted efforts to recycle cooking oil for biodiesel production and currently a quarter of the meals served on-campus are trayless.

11. The University of Wisconsin—Madison committed to local purchasing in the late 1990s. The university's dining halls have partnered with approximately 40 local growers and food distributors to serve meals to the 7,000 undergraduates living in its residential housing.

12. The dining services of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut, strive to provide students with food that is grown and produced locally and sustainably. Up to 37 percent of the food served in the dining halls meets one or more of the university's sustainability requirements. Yale University also offers sustainable menu options for its catered events and works hard to eliminate the amount of waste produced in its dining facilities.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How Monsanto Took Control of Our Food System

Want to Buy GMO-Free Food? Buy Organic

Nation's First School District to Serve 100% Organic, Non-GMO Meals

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hedges, 2019 © Hugh Hayden. All photos courtesy of Lisson Gallery

By Patrick Rogers

"I'm really into trees," said the sculptor Hugh Hayden. "I'm drawn to plants."

Read More Show Less
BruceBlock / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Thanks to their high concentration of powerful plant compounds, foods with a natural purple hue offer a wide array of health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Environmental Investigation Agency

By Genevieve Belmaker

Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.

Read More Show Less
Jessica Kourkounis / Stringer

The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.

"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.

The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.

"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."

The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.

"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."

Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.

Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.

That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.

Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.

If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.

"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."

To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.


"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."

Pixabay

By Manuella Libardi

Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY / THE OCEAN AGENCY

Hope may be on the horizon for the world's depleted coral reefs thanks to scientists who successfully reproduced endangered corals in a laboratory setting for the first time, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less

Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.

Read More Show Less
PhotoAlto / Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

Drinking water treated with fluoride during pregnancy may lead to lower IQs in children, a controversial new study has found.

Read More Show Less