Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

Deserted view of NH24 near Akshardham Temple on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on April 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India is home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, but recently air pollution levels have started to drop dramatically as the second-most populated nation endures the second week of a 21-day lockdown amidst coronavirus fears, according to The Weather Channel.

Read More Show Less
A Unicef social mobilizer uses a speaker as she carries out public health awareness to prevent the spread and detect the symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus by UNICEF at Mangateen IDP camp in Juba, South Sudan on April 2. ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP / Getty Images

By Eddie Ndopu

  • South Africa is ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
  • Its townships are typical of high-density neighbourhoods across the continent where self-isolation will be extremely challenging.
  • The failure to eradicate extreme poverty is a threat beyond the countries in question.
Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md. on Nov. 9, 2015. Al Drago / CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two malarial drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, despite only anecdotal evidence that either is proven effective in treating or slowing the progression of the disease in seriously ill patients.

Read More Show Less
Some speculate that the dissemination of the Antarctic beeches or Nothofagus moorei (seen above in Australia) dates to the time when Antarctica, Australia and South America were connected. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

A team of scientists drilled into the ground near the South Pole to discover forest and fossils from the Cretaceous nearly 90 million years ago, which is the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
The recovery of elephant seals is one of the "signs of hope" that scientists say show the oceans can recover swiftly if we let them. NOAA / CC BY 2.0

The challenges facing the world's oceans are well known: plastic pollution could crowd out fish by 2050, and the climate crisis could wipe out coral reefs by 2100.

Read More Show Less