While Sodexo, the company that operates Ithaca College’s dining halls, recently launched an initiative to increase the amount of food it purchases locally, the plan lacks the teeth necessary to fully satisfy the college’s commitment to sustainability.
On campus, only part of one of the three dining halls regularly offers a Fresh Food Market where students can eat food from local sources. Local food makes up 14 or 15 percent of Sodexo’s food costs for the college’s dining halls, while the majority of Sodexo’s product comes from Sysco, one of the largest wholesale food providers in the U.S., and is purchased based primarily on cost.
As members of the college community continue to strive for more local food, the college administration should aid their agenda. Sodexo also provides food services for colleges across the country, including the University of Vermont. At UVM, because students pushed for local options, Sodexo now provides some food grown within 150 miles of the campus at every UVM dining hall. To keep up in an increasingly green college climate, Ithaca College needs to do more than simply purchase some local products and serve them at a station in one dining hall.
Ithaca College must hold Sodexo to a higher standard. Until the college makes greater strides toward responsible food purchasing, the campus will fall behind in its commitment to sustainability.