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Eating the Talk: Office of Sustainability Goes Local

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 2, 2009

Local food by the sustainability office

The folks at the Office of Sustainability decided to walk the talk on eating locally recently in celebration of Eat Local Month and spent a week dining on grilled panini sandwiches, frittatas and quiches, and salads bursting with fresh vegetables. Oh, there was even a blueberry cobbler. And all of the ingredients were from New England.

“It was a delicious week,” says Sara Cleaves, associate director of the Office of Sustainability. “We’ve shopped at local farmers markets, local grocery stores, and even used items from our own gardens.”

New Hampshire’s Eat Local Week in 2008 was so popular, Gov. John Lynch declared August 2009 Eat Local Month. This was the second year the Office of Sustainability celebrated the event by taking turns making lunch for the office using ingredients grown or produced in the region.

“We decided we would ‘walk the talk’ and help get the word out about eating locally,” Cleaves says. “Not only did we get to eat really great food but it got us eating lunch together and talking about food—‘where did you get this; how did you make that.’ We talked about farms we like; all the farmers’ markets; stores that support local agriculture. It was very much about slow food and coming together.”

So why the geographical interest in food? Well, research shows it now takes almost as much energy to get food from the farm to the table as it does to grow it. This means eating food from your region is better for the environment and costs less. Not to mention, says Cleaves, that fresh tastes better.

“There is so much stuff still in season so it’s not too late to try eating locally,” she says. “And it forces you to try new things; new recipes. The more you talk to people, the more you find out what’s out there.”

Here’s a slideshow of the various food they made: http://picasaweb.google.com/UNHSustainability/EatLocal2009# <http://picasaweb.google.com/UNHSustainability/EatLocal2009>

To keep up with the other happenings at the Office of Sustainability, read their blog at http://discoversustainability.org/.

For information on the local harvest initiative at UNH visit http://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/fas/unhlocalharvest.html


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