Pacific University has joined a national movement to stay local. Many colleges across the country are experimenting with permaculture and sustainable food and farming projects. Creating sustainable human environments and strengthening the connection between the land and humans is a new cause for many colleges and students.
According to a recent Time magazine article, about 45 colleges and universities have started campus farms, much like Pacific's B Street Farm. Not only are farms becoming a part of campus life, but the motto "eat local" is floating around campus as well. Nearly 200 universities have taken this to heart and started buying produce and other food products from local area farmers, instead of from larger national groups. Staying local means helping the environment by cutting down on the use of fossil fuels to ship food across the country when a school can get it from down the road. Not only is it helping the environment, but typically locally grown food use less pesticides.
However, about two years ago Aramark at Pacific made the decision to stay local. "We buy from a wholesaler that buys, when available, local produce," said Food Service Director Jeff Marsh. Unfortunately, Oregon has a short growing season, which limits local availability at times. Aramark not only buys from local farms, but local companies such as Tillamook Creamery and Sunshine Dairy.
The state of cafeteria food has long been an issue that has concerned students; however now action is being taken that will not only affect students but the environment around them as well. "The Northwest is a pretty tight knit community, and the idea behind it is to support your local area as much as possible," said Marsh. "Buying local just makes sense."