Food is a significant driver of global sustainability outcomes, and Ohio State recognizes the importance of students developing a lifelong appreciation for how their meal choices have larger social and environmental impacts.
To facilitate that education, Ohio State aims to increase the amount of local and sustainable food options it provides across its dining facilities to equal at least 40% of its food offerings by 2025. Achieving that goal would place Ohio State among the leaders in higher education, particularly for large research institutions. By increasing local and sustainable food sourcing, the university will improve the student food experience, increase local procurement of fresh products and support the local economy.
Current goal achievement and initiatives
- A Food Sustainability Panel comprised of faculty, students, staff and external partners developed a guide to the university’s efforts towards this goal, including defining “local” and “sustainable.”
- Student Life Dining Services purchases about 85% of its liquid dairy and nearly 100% of its fresh chicken from Ohio farms.
- Some food served on campus comes from….campus! In partnership with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources and entities like the Student Farm at Ohio State, Dining Services uses beef, pork and produce grown on university farms.
- 16% of all food purchased by the Wexner Medical Center was locally sourced in 2021.
- After a successful pilot at Ohio State’s Mansfield campus, the Microfarm Project has expanded to the Marion campus to grow more local food and generate new income for participating community members.