Nutrition and Dietetics
local; sustainability; nutrition; food system; green; dining
Supporting local food has been a goal of dining services for some time now. Buying local means you know exactly where your food is coming from. Typically the farmer has a direct relationship with the processors that puts pressure on them to abide by all laws and regulations. Secondly, the shorter time between the farm and your table, the less likely that nutrients will be lost during the time it takes to transport food across the country. Third, buying local food builds a sense of community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your choice of food. On another interesting note, local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Lastly, buying local food is an investment in our future. Supporting local farmers today means you are helping to ensure that there will
be farms in your community tomorrow. This is important in regards to food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
As a nutrition major, my classes the past four years have served as a reminder of the ever growing environmental issue occurring on this planet. Where we get our food, who we get it from, where is it grown, how is it grown, who is doing the labor, how that system is affecting other systems are all very important questions to ask oneself when choosing what we eat. URI Dining Services, as with any large scale institution, has the power and resources to make a difference in its eco footprint. My project encompasses a few different strategies to help further Dining Services sustainability efforts. These strategies include tracking and marketing where Dining Services gets its food and what companies have sustainable affiliations, advertising ways students can make a difference in\ their diet with the environment in mind, and performing a study to assess the students’ knowledge of their food options. By making students more aware of their choices, they more aware of the power they have to make a difference