Find out how sustainable dining at Georgia Southern provides fresh options for studentsFebruary 5, 20202 min read
As more and more people are eating out – the expectations of customers of restaurants to be environmentally friendly are ever increasing. However, operating with a reduced carbon footprint all the while being sustainable and profitable are no easy task.
That’s where Georgia Southern University is making a difference.
The newest restaurant on the Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus offers diners comfort in knowing that some of the ingredients were grown just a few hundred yards away in the campus’ aquaponics farm in the Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center (SARC).
The agriculture and food industry is one of the largest users of water and producers of greenhouse gas emissions, but growing food by using aquaponics, a system of growing produce by using water fertilized by fish, cuts down on both significantly.
“SARC produce only travels a quarter mile from where it’s grown,” SARC curator Brigette Brinton said. “Locally grown food offers large advantages in terms of increased sustainability and freshness, and SARC produce is grown organically and using sound ecological principles that minimize water consumption.”
Brinton said minimizing emissions and water use does not diminish the quality or taste of the produce. To the contrary, it makes the food taste better because aquaponics produce often has higher concentrations of various compounds that give the foods their flavor, and they are grown in more ideal environments.
Brzycki said Georgia Southern wants to expand on using ultra-local, fresh produce and vegetables, as a part of the partnership with the aquaponics farm.
“When we consider redesigns of existing or new dining locations on the Armstrong Campus in the future, we want to see how we can incorporate these same principles,” he said. “But for now, Southern Cafe is the flagship unit for the aquaponics partnership, as well as sustainability and healthy eating, of Eagle Dining.”
Brinton said she hopes the Southern Cafe will inspire the students, faculty and staff who eat there to make healthier and more sustainable choices in other areas of their lives.
“Showcasing local, sustainable produce increases students’ awareness that there are better options, and Georgia Southern is going the extra mile to show them how to start making better choices,” she said. “Each time students see they made a sustainable choice at the Southern Cafe, they’re more likely to choose sustainable options on their own.”
Are you a journalist looking to cover this story or learn more about how Georgia Southern University is developing new programs that help traditional industries adapt to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly business model? If so – then let our experts help with your coverage.
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