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Key Objective: 7. Agriculture, Land Use, Food, and Sequestration
Food production, land management and food services – which are enormous undertakings on our 9.9-square-mile campus – deserve consideration for their environmental impacts even though these impacts are often less clearcut than those of energy or water. GHGs are produced from campus farms’ agricultural production, processing, transportation, marketing, consumption, and food waste. Ice and snow removal, mowing, and other garden maintenance on campus requires equipment that emits GHGs, too. Meanwhile, the plants we grow using this equipment take carbon out of the air – making for a constantly shifting emissions level.
The limited scope of calculating tools and lack of reported data on fertilizer, pesticide, tillage and other agricultural practices makes gauging emissions from land use difficult. More expertise is certainly needed to understand our campus’ agricultural emissions.
As of FY14, ag emissions decreased 24%, bringing campus close to its 2020 goal of 30% reduction.
Goals: Reduce agricultural emissions by 30% by FY20. 50% reduction by FY25, 70% reduction by FY30, 90% reduction by FY40, and 100% reduction by FY50.
25. Perform a comprehensive assessment of GHG emissions from agricultural operations, and develop a plan to reduce them, by the end of FY16.
26. Design and maintain campus landscapes in a more sustainable manner: expand the specification of sustainable plantings in campus landscaping standards, develop and implement a tree care plan by FY16, and an develop an integrated pest management program by FY17.
27. Incorporate sustainability principles more fully into the Campus Master Plan.
» This is in progress. Revisions could include designating space for renewable energy generation, guidelines for open space/sustainable planting, and reconciling the need for new program space with the net-zero growth space policy.
28. Implement a project that examines the food service carbon footprint for Dining and other on-campus food vendors, while increasing local food procurement to 40% by FY25.
29. Increase carbon sequestration in campus soils by determining the sequestration value of existing plantings and identifying locations for additional plantings, with a specific objective of converting at least 50 acres of U of I farmland to agroforestry by FY20.
30. Reduce nitrates in agricultural runoff and subsurface drainage by 50% from the FY15 baseline by FY22.