3/10/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University Dining Services continues to improve its sustainability by increasing purchases from local food companies. These companies supply dairy, meats and vegetables, among other items, purchased by AU Dining Services.
“Local food purchases come from within a 150-mile radius of the Ashland University campus and include more than 14 different food providers,” said Matt Portner, director of auxiliary services. “From these identified local food providers Ashland University buys 24 percent of its total food purchases. Being able to provide local food for students is very important because Ashland supports the local companies and provides students with fresh, local produce.”
Portner said Hawkins, Buehlers and the Flour Barrel are primary examples of buying locally, as all have markets located in Ashland, Ohio. “Purchasing from these companies guarantees the support of the local community while exposing students to food that can be locally sourced and purchased,” he said. “The close location of these companies helps keep the food fresh because the food travels a short distance.”
According to Portner, the local food is just one factor of Ashland University’s sustainability plan.
“The University uses plates and silverware in the dining hall that is washed and reused every day to lower the amount of waste that the Convocation Center produces,” he said. “In the Eagles’ Nest, one of the other dining halls, Dining Services introduced the reusable Eco-Container, which is a container that students can reuse to get their food to go. They have also added a charge to students who request the formerly used Styrofoam containers that are not recyclable.”
In addition, Ashland now features water fountains that will refill water bottles in order to save the amount of plastic bottles that go to landfills. These refill stations can be found throughout the campus and have already begun to get heavy use by both students and faculty.
Dining Services believes that these changes help the overall sustainability of dining at Ashland University for the foreseeable future.
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###