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Featured news item: Earth Day: Sustainability in action

Ohio State's Food Sustainability Panel

The Ohio State University has a tremendous opportunity to become a leader in addressing one of the most important challenges of our time: feeding a growing population in a manner that ensures human health; the economic viability of food producers, processors and distributors; and stewardship of the earth’s limited natural resources.

Ohio State established strategic sustainability goals to move the university toward a global model of sustainable operations and practices. University leaders have supported an initiative through the Discovery Themes to transform food systems on campus, in the community, and across Ohio and beyond to achieve food security for health.

Ohio State's Food Sustainability Panel was created to develop a strategic plan for our dining halls and other places on campus that serve food as the university seeks to move toward our goal of 40% local and sustainably sourced food by 2025. The panel’s role is to propose action items and guidelines as appropriate as the university works to achieve the sustainable food goal.

Read the September 2016 Local and Sustainable Food by 2025 Report

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Ohio State Research News


Ohio State Project Leverages Institutional Food Purchasing to Help Disadvantaged Families, Improve Nutrition in Columbus

With the support of a three-year $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, InFACT is creating a plan to develop a network of between 100 and 500 low-income families, particularly in communities of color, that could grow food and sell it to Ohio State and perhaps other institutions and businesses in the area. The goal is to provide technical assistance and training so families can start small-scale food enterprises that both supplement their income and improve their children’s nutrition.

Read more.

Upcoming Conferences to Help Small-Farm Owners

Two conferences designed for small-farm owners will be held in Wilmington and Massillon, Ohio in March. Ohio State University Extension’s Small Farm Program is hosting the Opening Doors to Success and Living Your Small Farm Dream conferences to help small-farm owners get the maximum potential out of their businesses.

Read more.

Picture This:  An App to Measure Food Waste

Brian Roe and his team at Ohio State's Food Waste Collaborative are developing a smartphone app that uses photos to measure food waste. A joint project with Louisiana State University, the app compares photos of a dinner plate before and after a meal and could be used to measure how much food is left and tossed in the trash. Roe, an InFACT faculty affiliate and professor of agricultural marketing and policy, has been featured in National Geographic, Newsweek and Bloomberg News. 

Ohio State Specialist Eyes Produce Safety from Greenhouse to Table

Even in the dead of winter, consumers can enjoy fresh tomatoes, peppers and other produce, often thanks to the bounty from greenhouses scattered across the continent. Sanja Ilic is trying to make sure those vegetables are the safest possible.

Ilic, the state food safety specialist for Ohio State University Extension, often works with growers to reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with fresh produce.

“Sometimes there is a perception that risks are lower in greenhouses since the produce isn’t grown out in an open field,” Ilic said. “But the intensive production conditions in greenhouses — pooling water, high humidity and higher temperatures — are just the conditions that are conducive to the growth of microorganisms. And while contamination in a field would be sporadic, contamination in a greenhouse could become widespread and potentially have a greater impact.”


Worries about food waste appear to vanish when diners know scraps go to compost

Diners waste far less food when they’re schooled on the harm their leftovers can inflict on the environment. But if they know the food is going to be composted instead of dumped in a landfill, the educational benefit disappears.

When composting enters the picture, educated diners waste just as much as those who haven’t learned about shrinking landfill space, dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and water and soil pollution, a new study found.

This presents a tricky situation for policymakers figuring out how to manage food waste, because the top tactics are prevention (through education) and diversion (through composting), said lead researcher Danyi Qi, a graduate student in agricultural economics at The Ohio State University.

Read the complete release here.

 About the Panel
Representatives, Feb. 2017
  • Kate Bartter, Director, Office of Energy and Environment
  • Mikayla Bodey, USG-Public Affairs*
  • Matt Brown,  Planning Administrator, Franklin County Economic Development & Planning Department
  • Sarah Brown, President-Residence Halls Advisory Council*
  • Molly Calhoun, Associate VP, Student Life
  • Mike Folino, Associate Director, Hospital Nutrition Services, Wexner Medical Center (alternate)
  • Lesa Holford, Associate Director, Dining Services (alternate) 
  • Julie Jones, Director, Hospital Dietetics, Wexner Medical Center
  • Nicholas Kawa, Department of Anthropology
  • Kate Larson, Residence Halls Advisory Council* (alternate)
  • Nicole Pierron Rasul, Program Coordinator, InFACT
  • Tom Reeves, Director, Energy Management and Sustainability, Student Life (alternate)
  • Ryan Schmiesing, Associate Provost, Academic Affairs, Assistant Dean
  • Colleen Spees, School of Health and Rehabilitation Services
  • Leslie Schaller, Program Director, ACEnet
  • Kareem Usher, Knowlton School of Architecture
  • Thelma Velez, Council of Graduate Students*
  • David Wituszynski, Council of Graduate Students*