Use of Sustainable Foods at Swarthmore
Featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer
by Maki Somosot '12
Swarthmore's commitment to using sustainable and locally grown food products was recently featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer. On campus, students lead the Good Food Project, which advocates the use of sustainable organic food from local farmers in the dining hall. The project is completely student-run, aiming to support the local food economy and raise awareness about important nutrition issues for Swarthmore students. The group also maintains a campus garden.
Dining Services at Swarthmore has endeavored to include more organic food items into its weekly menu and participates in the Pennsylvania Farm to College program. Locally grown produce is provided by area farmers who ensure that the food is high quality and fresh for consumption.
Students have shown enthusiasm towards the local foods movement currently developing at Swarthmore. Lois Park '10, food columnist for the Swarthmore Phoenix, says, "I love the little tags next to local foods at Sharples that tell us from where they're sourced. I've enjoyed a nice variety of seasonal fruits from local orchards this semester. I'm looking forward to more!"
According to Noah Gress, a Chester County farmer who provides Sharples Dining Hall with organic vegetables, "Most environmental issues are so global...knowing where their food comes from gives [students] a little bit of sovereignty."
Food sustainability has become a new standard of comparison for many other academic institutions such as Amherst, Williams, Yale University and University of Pennsylvania. "We are now definitely seeing a more consistent approach because colleges are making it a philosophical priority," Bryan Snyder, director of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, said.
In addition to sustainable and locally grown foods, Swarthmore has undertaken a number of other initiatives surrounding food and dining to reduce its environmental footprint.