Sustainable food systems are those that promote the local food economy and support sustainable agriculture. This can also include reducing your food waste by throwing away less food and composting any food scraps that must be discarded. For easy ways to reduce your food waste, check out our sustainability tips!
The OHIO Student Farm is one of the hidden gems of Ohio University. Located behind the Innovation Center at 338 West State Street, Athens OH, 45701, the farm includes production and teaching areas.
Recently, a group of students met with Ohio University's Board of Trustees and fed them lunch sourced from the farm. Here is more information regarding the luncheon! Additionally, check out this blog about experiential learning at the student farm. For more information about how the Environmental & Plant Biology Department is involved, head to their website.
Weekly produce sales from The OHIO Student Farm are no longer being held during COVID-19. Food from the Student Farm is being donated to the Cats' Cupboard.
The Farm to OHIO Working Group (FOWG) is an initiative of Dr. Theresa Moran's Sugar Bush Foundation grant with community partners Rural Action and Community Food Initiatives. This group is comprised of the grant partners in addition to Culinary Services, the Office of Sustainability, and the Center for Campus and Community Engagement. They come together monthly to discuss barriers to local food procurement and high impact ways to overcome them. To date, the FOWG has had many successes including the creation of a new metric for local food called the OHIO Neighborhood, the GAP Certification of 6 area farms, and the purchasing of over $10,000 of food from the Chesterhill Produce Auction during the summer of 2019. This group continues to meet monthly and expand the programming both on and off campus to support local food procurement at Ohio University.
The Athens Farmers Market is a great way to support the local food economy! They are located in the parking lot of the Market on State (1000 E State) every Saturday from 9-12, Wednesdays 9-12 from April through December, and Thursday evenings starting again in the spring. On the third Saturday of every month, you will also see vendors selling soaps, blankets, and other household essentials.
Athens is an amazing place to eat locally! We are now home to one of the nation's first "super-local" food economies, which we call the 30 Mile Meal. Any restaurant that holds its logo purchases a portion of its food and drink from farmers within a 30 mile range of town. That's pretty amazing! To learn more about which businesses are involved and the farmer's you're supporting, you can head to the 30 Mile Meal's blog, their Facebook page, or the Athens Visitor's Bureau.
OHIO's Culinary Services is one of the largest self-operated, non-franchised college dining services in the nation. They are vigilant about decreasing food waste, increasing local food purchases, and sustainable construction, and have been awarded numerous sustainability awards.
Some of their sustainable initiatives include:
- Local food purchasing
- Reducing food waste and composting what is wasted
- Increasing efficiencies through central production
- Providing students with the option to donate unused flex meals to the community
- Offering "Zero Waste" catered meals
- Implementing a plastic bag tax
Local food is defined as foods that are grown, raised, and processed within 250 miles of Ohio University. However, OU gives preference to Neighborhood Local Products, which are defined as foods that are grown, raised, and processed within 100 miles of OU. This supports the local economy, instead of large corporations, and farmers in our Appalachian region, allowing them to continue creating more product and increases the amount of healthy, local food available for all. It is more cost effective than eating food that's out of season and from thousands of miles away. Choosing local products also lowers your carbon footprint which is better for the environment and ensures freshness of the food!
To learn more about what they're doing, head to their website.