Chartwells currently offers cage-free eggs, rGBH-free milk, and sustainable seafood, but that is only a small proportion of the products that Chartwell serves on a daily basis. Because Americans in general are becoming more aware of the source of their food and what, if any, chemicals are being used on their food; a sustainable meal plan option for students may be a valuable option.
In our survey, 63% of respondents said that they would be willing to pay more for sustainably produced food products on campus. Because of this, the University along with Chartwells could work to create a meal plan that may be more expensive than the others but has a strong emphasis on sustainably produced products. The meal plan could focus on local foods along with pesticide and herbicide free produce and hormone free dairy and meats. Schools like Yale University and Northwestern University have even implemented a majority of sustainably produced products into their traditional meal plans (Northeastern University 2011). The sustainable meal plan at Towson could be a stepping stone to incorporating a majority of sustainable products into the traditional meal plans.
The sustainable meal plan would entice students to care more about their food and the impact that it could have on the environment. It could also help the local economy because many of the sustainably produced products could come from nearby farms. It could also encourage more perspective students to come to Towson because if they live on campus, they have to buy a meal plan.
On Campus Garden
The transportation costs of bringing food to campus are very high. Because the food has to be shipped from hubs all across the country, it has to be transported in large trucks that get very low gas mileage and are not very energy efficient. Therefore food transportation to campus puts a lot of pollution in the environment. An on campus garden can therefore alleviate some of the costs associated with shipping food onto campus.
The Towson University Urban Farm (TUUF) already started a small garden on campus. The university can promote this and work with TUUF to expand it. TUUF sold some of the harvest at the first farmer’s market, and this could be continued. The university can also encourage Chartwells to buy and use produce from the garden in the dining facilities to save on transportation costs.
The on campus farm would promote an awareness of how food can be grown sustainably. It will also allow Chartwells to cut down on some of its costs instead of having idling trucks polluting the environment while delivering food to campus.
Fair trade products
Chartwells currently serves fair trade coffee on campus. For those that do not drink coffee however, no fair trade products are available. Fair trade refers to the fact that all workers involved in the production of the fair trade product are paid a fair living wage. To remedy this problem, fair trade tea could be served at...