Sustainable Food Systems
St. Lawrence has been continually supporting sustainable agriculture since 2003 when we joined the Farm to School Network. We have come a long way since then and interest in creating a more sustainable food system at St. Lawrence continues to grow each year.
The environmental, social, ethical and health impacts of the industrial agriculture system have caused many to question how food is grown, where food is grown and what food should be eaten from a nutrition and health perspective. Sustainable Table cites sustainable agriculture as "a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities."
At St. Lawrence University, locally produced food is sourced, purchased and delivered through our partnership with North Country Grown Cooperative. While Sysco is still our prime vendor we have asked and been assured that they too have begun purchasing locally and some of the food we procure from them is grown in New York State; examples of these include New York grown apples each fall. In a small way we have even begun to produce food on our own campus. Just outside the dining hall there are raised beds with organic herbs that are picked fresh in season and used in many dishes and just across campus at the Ecological Sustainability Landscape students run their own garden, Seed to Table.
Some operational changes that have been made to increase the sustainability of SLU's food system include going trayless, using golf carts instead of large vehicles for much of on campus food transportation, turning lights off or down in dining and cooking facilities when not in use and putting the exhaust fans on timers.
Students, dining services, other SLU employees, producers and local food advocates are excited with the continued efforts made to improve the sustainability of the food system at St. Lawrence.