A Feasibility Analysis of Implementing Bioregional Food in Dalhousie University’s Studley Campus Residence Dining Halls
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This project will examine how much of the food for the dining halls on Dalhousie University’s Studley campus come from farms, processors and manufacturers within the Maritime Provinces which include Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI and whether it is feasible to increase that amount. For many environmental, socio-economic, and health reasons it is important to consider where such large quantities of food are purchased from. This project addresses these concerns in addition to examining the feasibility of substituting some of the food currently served in these dining halls with locally grown food. Interviews will be conducted with Aramark, Dalhousie University’s food supplier, and local farmers at the Halifax Farmer’s Market. The interviews with Aramark determined that an estimated one quarter of food on the average plate is grown within the Maritimes. Aramark would be willing to take food from local farmers if they could supply enough to meet their needs and if the local food is federally inspected. The interviews with local farmers determined that some farmers were interested in supplying Dalhousie University residence dining halls with their products. However, the farmers stated that there are policies that restrict their ability to do so, and no one farm would be able to meet all of Aramark’s needs. It was learned that Maritime farmer’s are in the process of organizing themselves to meet the institutional demand by gathering their resources as a cooperative to meet the supply and distribution needs. Student questionnaires were also conducted. They determined that students do care where their food comes from and think that locally grown food would support personal health, the environment, and the local economy. However, on average students are not willing to pay more for their meal plans to acquire locally grown food if it would end up costing more. The research showed that it is possible to have more locally grown food in Dalhousie University residence dining halls but that it would require that more students demand it. The study also showed that 2/3 of students would choose sustainable food if it was presented to them as an option.