Most food served in University dining halls travels hundreds of miles, uses thousands of gallons of water and is picked well before its ripely filled with the essential nutrients that should be appearing on our plates. Granted, the University cannot rely solely on local farms to feed its staff and students. However, I think that the leaders and the best should try harder to avoid the waste that our current food system promotes.
The University has a goal to purchase 20 percent sustainable food by 2025, which has almost been met. Kathy Whiteside, the Residential Dining Services menu and nutrition manager, the University has nearly maxed out the amount of food that it can purchase locally. After visiting Goetz Farm, the University’s local vegetable source, I learned that this isn’t the case. The University only purchases 5 percent of the total crop that is produced on the Goetz’s land. Karlene Goetz said that the farm has tried, and have the capabilities, to provide the University with much more local food than it’s currently ordering.
However, we can’t place the blame fully on the University; students are the customers of the dining halls and, according to Whiteside, french fries and chicken nuggets are the most favorable dishes. Students understandably don’t want to eat squash and root vegetables all winter. That is not what I’m suggesting. There is local food available and the University is ignoring this. Students need to stand up for what is just and right. Should we continue ridding the earth of resources if it means getting what we want? Or, should we learn to love what nature already graciously provides? You are a student, you have the power, you decide.