Syracuse University: Local Food Solutions
For Syracuse university to increase it’s purchasing from local suppliers, the biggest thing it needs to do is build momentum in the student body demanding such a change, starting on a small scale.
The biggest problems with local food for syracuse University are: Logistics, and Supply. The university currently contracts with Syracuse Banana for all of it’s produce because it can provide all of the university’s needs in a single delivery. Syracuse Banana does work with local farmers, but the majority of it’s produce comes from Florida and California.
Success Stories in connecting campuses to local farms:
New York State Farm to Institution:
Farm to institution programs have been popping up around the United States, purposed to provide market opportunities for farmers, and to bring high-quality food to people in schools, hospitals, or any of many other institutions.
“If we were to try to implement a more local food service system the key is starting at a small scale
- do things at one dining hall or one café (it then creates buzz and students want it at all the dining centers, so the whole school later implements it)
- have a special local menu at one place because there may not be enough food to source the entire institution
- look at the menus what is purchased, and in what form do we need them in “washed” “cut” “diced”
- go after a few of the items and create a marketing program/ educate students
- survey students (how much they care where their food is from, and after they eat the local product if it makes a difference to them)
—Glenda Neff, New York Farm to Institution”
Farm to Institution New York State has over 36,000 farms with 7 million acres of cultivation in New York serving over 300 million meals in 2012. Major Syracuse and Onondaga county purchasers can look to programs such as these when increasing their purchases of local foods.
The representative that we talked to addressed several issues that many large purchasers of food have with local purchasing, directly refuting the notion that local food is too expensive, and unavailable year round.
Real Food Challenge:
The Real Food Challenge is a student run organization focused on bringing local food to campuses nationwide. There are already some student organizations, such as the BrainFeeders Club, present on Syracuse’s campus that could position themselves to influence the university to increase it’s local food purchases.