Student movements on many campuses are calling for sustainable food practices.
In response, colleges nationwide are buying more food from local farms, and taking steps to ensure that their meals are grown in an ecologically sound manner. Some colleges are even creating organic minifarms on or near campus.
Local Salsa and Apples
Yale now gets its salsa from an organic farm in South Glastonbury, CT, and its apples from Meriden, CT, rather than from other states. About half of the 15 million U.S. college students now have access to some organic food on campus.
80 Percent Prefer Sustainable Food
The number of college students who prefer to eat organic foods is on the rise with each survey. Eighty percent of Yale students surveyed last year said that they would eat in the school dining halls more often if sustainable food was served.
How about it? Some GOOD news for a change!
Just as some hospitals in America are transitioning to organic foods, universities are slowly making the switch too. The difference-maker:
Demands made by a growing number of "nutritionally wired students" raised on "Whole Foods diets."
See, we CAN make a difference!
All it takes is a critical mass of people, certainly not the majority of the population, to let its desires be made clear and we can start to change the culture.
In the case of Yale University, the switch from pre-made foods to preparing scratch meals from more wholesome sources has taken five years, because most schools never spent money on food before and don't know how.
As one might expect at an Ivy League school, Yale's nutritional goals -- serving 100 percent sustainable and organic food -- are high but doable. That's a far cry from just four years ago, when organic foods were served in just one dining hall on campus.
When you buy local food, it is fresher since it did not have to be transported many pointless miles to get to you. This improves both its health value and its taste. And organic food is free of the chemical residues that pervade conventionally grown foods.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. Pesticides can have many negative influences on health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of the endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression.
Conventional produce also tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.
If you must buy conventional produce, there are ways to reduce your pesticide exposure. Thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables will help, although all pesticide residues cannot be removed by washing. You can also remove or peel the outer layer if possible.
If your searches for organic foods grown near you have come up empty, you'll want to review my recent list of links of farmers' markets and family farms. And, buying organic food isn't as expensive as you've been led to believe, either.