30 Percent of Our Food is Local

Local and responsibly sourced foods are a big part of Denison’s sustainability efforts. To us, what we eat and where we get it is just as important, if not more so, than issues relating to how much energy we use on campus and whether or not it is renewable.

We currently source more than 30 percent of our food locally and responsibly. From potatoes, to cereal, to tofu and chicken – we’re creating unique partnerships and processes to make local the norm in our dining operations. We’ve even begun using an artisan local soda.

Map of some our local vendors

With its dining partner, Bon Appetit, Denison is redefining how colleges can embrace the local food movement and help to create sustainable local food systems that empower local farmers and develop new markets for sustainably produced goods. http://denison.edu/feature/students-helping-local-farmers

While many schools see campus farms as their primary pathway towards local, Denison believes these endeavors compete with local farms and do more long-term harm than good. Instead, we collaborate with local producers to bring more of their products to campus and to provide unique learning experiences for students interested in sustainable agriculture.

In addition, the dining hall meal options help to facilitate sustainable lifestyles and low-carbon diets. Options for vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, and gluten-free diets are available at all dining locations. Denison also recognizes Mindful Mondays, a student initiative that aims to highlight the important social and environmental issues that surround the foods we eat.

Composting and recycling are regular practices at both the pre- and post-consumer stages, and used cooking oil is recycled for use as biofuel at neighboring farms. To help minimize food waste, reduce water use, and save energy, trays are no longer used in dining halls. To encourage the use of reusable mugs, the on-campus coffee shop provides a discount when using your own mug.

Independent of Bon Appetit, there are two Community Supported Agriculture - CSA - options for students to consider. One is offered by Bird Haven Farms which has a drop-off location on campus and the other is offered by Sunbeam Farms.