Improving local food offerings is a core sustainability focus for Fleming College. Over the years, we have implemented various initiatives, such as Community Gardens, Farmers' Markets, 100-mile dinners, Good Food Box programs and cooking and growing workshops, to help connect students with healthy, locally sourced foods from farmers right in our own back yard!
This year, Fleming College is embarking on some of our biggest initiatives yet. We have been working with our food service provider, Aramark, to source more foods from local farmers, growers and distributors. Monthly "Local Food Day" Menus and a rewards program will help students to access these resources. We are also one of four colleges participating in a local food procurement pilot project led by Mohawk College that will will be used to help build the province’s first local food procurement framework for Ontario’s 24 public colleges in early 2018.
Here at the Office of Sustainability, we believe strongly that students who know the importance and impact of local food choices are able to make healthy choices for themselves. We want to support students in learning about local food, and developing the skills with which to identify, grow, and prepare healthy foods. This will increase campus sustainability, our regional economic impact, and improve the overall student experience. This is something students have asked for, and we are here to deliver.
What's In Season?
Apples, artichoke, arugula, asian vegetables, beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, corn, crab apples, cranberries, cucumbers, edamame, eggplant, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pie pumpkins, radishes, rapini, rutabaga, spinach, sprouts, strawberries (day neutral), squash, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, winter squash, zucchini
A Message from the Office of Sustainability
Do you know where your food comes from?
Not long ago, a majority of Canadian families lived on farms, and most of what they consumed came directly from the land around them. But following World War II, Canada’s agriculture and food industries changed dramatically and forever altered the way food is produced, processed, handled, sold and consumed. Now, on average, food travels 2500 km before it reaches our plates! So it’s not surprising most of us today have lost touch with where our food is coming from.
The good news is that local food is now back in the mainstream. What started as a food-based movement driven by health and environmentally conscious consumers has evolved into a multifaceted food revolution! There are so many good reasons for eating local food, it's no surprise that the number of farmers markets is growing, and that suppliers, grocers and restaurants are adding locally produced goods to their offerings year-round.
Fleming College and eatlocalFleming are a part of this movement. Our campuses are already perfectly situated in Ontario’s Greenbelt, where a huge variety of food products are grown, raised and manufactured. By sourcing more food from within the Greenbelt, we can reduce our average food miles from the 2500 km mentioned above to less than 250 km! Now that's an area you can get to know.
The Importance and Impact of Local Food Choices
Benefits of Eating Local
Why Eat Local?
1. Taste the difference
Food at a farmers' market is ripe, fresh and full of flavour, unlike food that may have been picked weeks or months before.
2. Know what you are eating
What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was the chicken free range? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers and many build relationships with farmers whom they trust.
3. Support small farms
Keeping our dependency on other countries to supply us with over 50% of our food is unsustainable. Local farming must be encouraged, and farming families supported. We have to be willing to demand that our local supermarkets purchase more locally grown food.
4. Give back to the local economy
Food dollars spent at local farms and food producers stay in the local economy, creating more jobs at other local businesses.
5. Less travel
Local food travels much less distance to a market than typical fresh or processed grocery store foods, therefore using less fuel and generating fewer greenhouse gases.
6. Less waste
Because of shorter distribution chains, less food is wasted in distributing, warehousing and merchandising.
7. More freshness
Local food is healthier, fresher and tastes better, because it spends less time in transit from farm to plate, and therefore loses fewer nutrients and incurs less spillage.
8. Get in touch with the seasons
When you eat locally, you eat what's in season. You'll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make more sense than flavourless cherries from the other side of the world.
9. Discover new flavours
Ever tried parsnip stew? Succotash? Or Hodgepodge? There are many new flavours and foods that we can eat in season, store and freesze or prepare for the winter. Count the types of pear on offer at your grocery store. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties, while more than 2000 have been lost in our rush to sameness.
10. Meet your neighbours
Local eating is social. According to studies, people shopping at farmers' markets have 10 times more conversations that their counterparts at the grocery store. Join a community garden and you'll actually meet the people you pass on the street.
11. Preserves open space
Buying local food helps local farms survive and thrive, keeping land from being redeveloped into suburban sprawl.
12. Good for the soil
Local food encourages diversification of local agriculture, which reduces the reliance on monoculture - single crops grown over a wide artea to the detriment of the soils.