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- 7.4 Increase use of local food
- 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)
- 7. Agriculture, Land Use, Food, and Sequestration
Key Objective: 7.4 Increase use of local food
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 4 is "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."
Dining Services has made excellent progress in terms of procuring foods locally and continuing to look for methods to reduce environmental impact. Dining already procures 28% of food from sources within 150 miles of campus, which includes 95% of all the produce grown on the Sustainable Student Farm. Presently, these efforts have been primarily focused on increasing the fraction of local food, with less attention paid to explicit consideration of the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
With the assistance of relevant academic specialists and students, Dining Services could develop a Food Footprint for their operations. This report would reveal the GHG emissions from food services, and inform future efforts to increase local food purchases, including which food purchases contribute most to emissions and should be avoided.
The campus could make the information developed by Dining Services available to other campus food vendors. This information will help them make better decisions regarding the procurement of local foods and any associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these efforts.
The campus could also make a concerted effort to work with local farmers to develop robust markets for local foods, and local food processing facilities, which will enable a greater utilization of local foods both by our campus and our community.
The environmental footprint of the aerobic digesters used in Dining Services should be assessed to determine whether this is the best option for disposing of food waste, or whether vermi-composting or traditional composting would be better long-term solutions.