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Key Objective: 5.6 Use Local Food

The iCAP 2020, objective 5.6 is: “Increase the use of local food to 35% by FY30.” The responsible campus unit for championing this objective is Housing. Progress is tracked in the iCAP Portal project page for Food Purchases from Local Sources.

Associated Metric

Percent of Local Food from Dining Services (Tracked by Fiscal Year)

Explanation

University Dining is committed to purchasing as much food as possible from local vendors to support small farms and conserve energy associated with long-distance transportation. In FY15, the university committed to surpassing statewide procurement standards in this area and was already sourcing one-quarter of dining hall food expenditures from such locations.[1]

In order to increase the university’s use of local food, we must:

  1. Define the term “local” and enforce appropriate standards;

  2. Identify the most efficient produce items to locally source based on factors like growing season; and

  3. Measure total energy expended as a result of local purchasing as compared with long-distance transportation and make determinations based on the resulting data.

Speaking to the first of these, the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act[2] calls for State agencies and facilities to locally purchase 20% of farm and food products by 2020 and defines “local farm or food products” as “products (1) grown in Illinois; or (2) processed and packaged in Illinois, using at least one ingredient grown in Illinois.” Moving forward, we can assign a student to collaborate with campus stakeholders to establish a shared and flexible definition of “local food.”

[1] https://bit.ly/312IAs7 
[2] https://bit.ly/2Xa3DYz