N.C. State has embarked on an ambitious program, My Roots, to source more of their campus food locally. As part of the program, “University Dining has increased its amount of food sourced from North Carolina and South Carolina from 18 percent to 28 percent in the past two years,” writes Emily Duckett for N.C. State’s Technician.
While they are striving to support the local food economy, the My Roots program also seeks to make students, staff, and faculty “more aware of the benefits of these sources.” To meet this goal, N.C. State also hosts an annual “All Carolinas Meal” and “Earth Day Meal” to bring special attention to North Carolina food sources and ingredients.
The benefits of using local food are manifold. First, the food is fresher, and so it tastes better. Shorter travel distances mean fruit and vegetable varieties don’t have to be grown to withstand long shipping routes, and farmers can instead select for taste. Second, the purchases help the local economy. Local spending returns money to North Carolina at a much higher rate than purchasing products from sources grown outside the state or internationally. Third, eating food grown close to home creates a deeper connection to the land for the consumer, who not only will know where their food was grown, but can potentially visit the farm itself.
For these reasons and so many more, TLC remains committed to local farms and food. By sustaining rural agricultural economies, and by providing clean water, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and educational opportunities, well-managed farms and associated woodlands enhance our communities.
Learn more about TLC’s efforts to support local farms and foods in our 2012-2013 Annual Report video, featured below. For more information from the Annual Report, click here.