Topics

Food

In Context

The impact of food consumption is relevant to all aspects of sustainability, from greenhouse gas emissions, to preservation of natural resources, to the generation of waste.

As a result, a campus food model must carefully consider issues related to food transportation, packaging, storage, preparation, as well as waste disposal. For example, food transportation requires fossil fuels, packaging uses petroleum-derived plastics, refrigeration and preparation can take vast amounts of energy and water, and food-filled landfills emit methane.

How food is grown and distributed also affects its environmental and social cost. Locally purchased food supports a local economy, ensures accountability, and can increase biodiversity. When one knows how and by whom one’s food is grown, one can be sure that he/she is supporting an environmentally and socially beneficial business.

Most importantly, a campus food model must consider how best to meet the nutritional needs of the students, faculty, and staff on campus while balancing the social, economic, and environmental costs associated with food procurement. We recognize that the process of developing a sustainable food model is particularly challenging, given the great financial pressures and complex logistical challenges of feeding IUB’s more than 40,000 students, staff, and faculty. However, there is ample room to improve upon the current situation in the short term.