I would be lying if I said that No Impact Week was a piece of cake thus far. I mean, some regular occurrences at this school just beg for me to act against my newfound environmentalist ways and leave a giant footprint or two in my wake. For instance, the massive bowl of lifesavers mints in the dining halls that call me like sirens when I leave. “Just one won’t be that much of a harm,” they seem to whisper in my ear as I stare down the bowl of mints in their stupid individually packed wrappers and processed goodness. My ogling gets to the point where the Sodexo worker manning the key card swipe probably questions how I got into college because, gosh darn it, I look insane. Then I suck in an awkward breath and walk out, forcing the “It’s for the better” thought into my own lifesaver-withdrawal experiencing mind. Yes, I exaggerate, but it is hard. A particular qualm I have with my lovely dorm, Smith, is the seeming obsession of all residents to open the windows that sit directly above the radiators and thermostats of the building (a not so genius design plan I might add). I have literally closed the same windows on not just my hall, but on all three floors, and hours later they magically reopen! It’s maddening! With a little perseverance, however, most are finally remaining closed. A Christmas miracle! Anyways, I suppose I should move onto my waste reduction. So far this week I have only produced compost waste in the dining halls and in my room (though I have to bring that compost back to the dining halls). This generally makes me feel like I am having a positive benefit overall. The trash sort really reminded me of what things I can reuse, primarily plastic bags. Showering for five minutes is becoming more of a habit, and though unplugging my electronics and reducing my energy usage has been a struggle, it’s possible once I make a habit of it. The last thing I would like to talk about (I know this is on the longer side) is an email that I received from Niles Gebele, the General Manager of Sodexo Dining Services. I emailed him over the weekend trying to find out what foods were most local/low impact that Sodexo offers in their dining hall. I have to say he was extremely helpful, and so to make everyone’s week easier in terms of food choices I wanted to share what he told me:
Currently all of our ground beef including burgers is being purchased from Finlayson Farms here in Granville. All the beef from Finlayson Farms is grass fed as well. They have very good sustainable practices in fact they take the majority of leaves collected in the Granville community and compost them and utilize them on their farm. Some of our apples are currently local but the supply is running out the quality is getting unreliable as well. Earlier in the semester we were getting more produce when the weather was warmer. We were getting potatoes, acorn squash, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn and several other vegetables. Now that we are moving into winter there none available to us. he majority of our bread comes from Schweibels. It is all baked here in Ohio and I am not sure where they source the ingredients. Our milk comes from farms throughout Ohio and is processed by Reiter in Springfield Ohio. Our ice cream comes from Velvet. They purchase all of their milk from Ohio farmers and process it here in Utica (located here in Licking county).
Additionally, I asked him about the soy milk and tofu served in the dining halls (since I am lactose intolerant) and he said that they aren’t local and that he would look further into the suppliers and get back to me. As far as the peanut butter goes (this is a particular favorite of mine) he said that he was almost positive it came from peanuts originating in the South. So I suppose that’s not local, but closer than bananas, etc. Generally, I have been eating apples this week because I am hoping that, to some extent, they will be more local. And of course I am devouring the salad bars (and hoping that some of the vegetables are somewhat local). I hope this helps those who read it!