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Growing Local Foods (In Progress)
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- Sustainable Agricultural Practices
The long journey of transportation for crops and animals that are shipped, driven, and flown to factories before being sent to the University of Illinois dining halls is another area of concern in the reduced emissions efforts of the campus. In order to reduce the problem of food miles and their related emissions, the campus must close the loop in food production, use, and waste recycling. This requires a shift to more sustainable agriculture and animal production practices, providing a support infrastructure of a local foods network, and a large-scale food-composing project to eliminate unnecessary food waste.
The University currently has a small (~3 acres) produce garden, the Sustainable Student Farm. The produce is sold and used in the University dining halls – meaning the farm could sustain itself while providing local (less than 7 miles) food. The farm also does not use any chemicals on its land. With the implementation of passive solar greenhouses, the growing season can be extended into November and could start as early as January. The slower production times can be supplemented by preserved food from the summer when food abundance is great but there are fewer students.