Eat Local Challenge
Each year, chefs at Oberlin College join more than 400 Bon Appétit Management Company chefs in reaching new heights of culinary creativity to put local on the plate in their cafés. During the Eat local Challenge meal, over 200,000 diners across the nation are served a lunch made of ingredients sourced 100 percent – from fruit to flour – within a 150-mile radius of the café kitchen. It is the largest coordinated national event to focus awareness on the importance of local food. Diners taste how the search translates into inspiration, how gorgeous and unique local ingredients became creative, seasonal, delicious entrees, beverages and desserts.
Farm to Fork Program
This food service program started in 2001 with purchases of approximately 5% of the total food budget. In 2006, 30% of the total food purchasing expenditures supported local farmers and artisans. We strive to increase our annual local purchases by 5% of the total food budget.
The Farm to Fork program empowers the chef to customize seasonal menus to satisfy the tastes of the campus. The first choice is to purchase seasonal and regional ingredients from within a 150-mile radius of the campus. These gems of the earth are often prepared and served within 48 hours of harvest. The result is healthier communities and customers. The program supports family farms and small local businesses in order to expand the capacity of Ohio farmers and vendors to supply local markets.
George Jones Memorial Farm
Since 2001, students at Oberlin College have been enjoying fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from George Jones Memorial Farm, a 70 acre sustainable farm located about one mile off campus The Jones Farm is owned by Oberlin College, but operated privately by a group of college alumni dedicated to increasing sustainable commerce in the Northwestern area of Ohio.. To that end a partnership was formed with the New Agrarian Center (NAC) of Oberlin and the George Jones Memorial Farm, a program affiliated with the NAC. The Jones Farm is a working organic farm that serves a variety of educational purposes, including an education outreach program for students in Kindergarten through 5th grades, Oberlin College students and ongoing programs for rural and urban farmers in Northeast Ohio.
A heated greenhouse on the farm operates by burning the 315 liquid pounds waste fryer oil collected by students from the cafés of Oberlin College using reusable containers. The greenhouse and the waste oil operated furnace were both purchased with Bon Appétit support. City Fresh, a program affiliated with the NAC, operates a Bon Appétit funded waste oil operated, refrigerated box truck that collects from area farmers and delivers their produce to the cafés of Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University. Oberlin College strives to model the wisdom of investment in community economic development in the very communities that they serve. The George Jones Memorial Farm is one of many local farms supported as part of the Farm to Fork program.
Stevenson Herb Garden
You might have glimpsed the new herb boxes on the balcony outside Stevenson Dining Hall. We are now growing basil, oregano, lettuce, kale, and even some hot peppers! These delicious herbs and vegetables are as home grown as it gets, and the chefs love using them in their dishes.
Want to know if the dish you are eating has herbs from the balcony garden? Just look for our farm to fork sticker and see if Stevenson balcony is under the food description.
Thanks to everyone who made this project possible, especially the Environmental Studies 101 group, head chef Dean Holliday, and our own CDS recycler Julia Munson.