SUNY Albany has been taking sustainability very seriously lately. They already offer a special sustainability residence hall and an initiative to label local foods in the dining hall. Perhaps their most ambitious initiative so far is the "50 by '15" campaign. This campaign hopes to increase the amount of food coming from local sources from 20% to 50% by 2015. The initiative is run by Office of Environmental Sustainability, University Auxiliary Services and Chartwells (the university’s food provider).
A group of students drafted a petition that was signed by hundreds more and presented to Interim VP of Finance and Business Stephen Beditz. The initiative was made a priority and local food was defined as being within 250 miles of the school or from New York State. As a result of this campaign the amount of local food in UAlbany’s cafeteria has risen from eight percent to twenty in the last three years. The University purchases local frozen vegetables, pork, and grass-fed beef, among other things. Food comes from such local places as m Battenkill Valley Creamery in Salem, NY and Mount Pleasant Bakery in Schenectady, NY.
Buying local food is not only better for your health and the environment (it reduces the amount of fossil fuels needed to transport food across the world) but it’s also a very important part of supporting the local economy, especially since there are over 4,000 farms in New York’s Capitol District alone. We applaud SUNY Albany and its students for pushing to make such an important and intelligent change at their institution.