When we buy ‘locally grown,’ the food doesn’t have to travel 1,500 miles from the farm to your fork – which is the average distance an American bite travels these days. In a world threatened, as ours is, by climate change, the amount of carbon emissions we save by eating local food is very important. A large portion of our “Ecological Footprint” comes from what we eat (our ecological “mouth-print”).
Granted, as students at Cornell it is rather difficult to travel to six different farms to get your eggs, greens, meat, cheese or whatever else for the week, but luckily we don’t have to. Last week I mentioned that Cornell Dining prepares its meals with over 30% local foods. This week I would like to tell you about another eatery on campus – where you might find that the chicken on your compostable plate traveled only 10 miles from the farm or that the lettuce in your sandwich was delivered by bicycle from less than a mile away… HA! You’ve got me! I must be joking!
Actually I’m telling the truth. Manndible Café , located in the lobby of Mann Library on the Ag Quad, has a deep running commitment to local foods – and yes, throughout the fall the managers of Dilmun Hill , Cornell University’s student- run organic farm, biked their produce from near the orchards across Rt. 366 to Mann Library using clever tow-carts.
Manndible supports the local economy by buying as much meat and produce as they can from local farmers. These local farmers are usually more concerned with growing a quality product rather than growing mass quantities. For this reason, the varieties of vegetables and fruit and the cuts of meat that you purchase from Manndible will be tastier and healthier for you than feed-lot meat and iceberg lettuce.
Mandible’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond just local foods. I highly suggest that you check out their menu – but don’t forget to compost your plate, cup and utensils in the bin when you’re finished!
When it comes to incorporating more local foods into our diets, every bite counts – and those bites can be easy and delicious!