FOOD SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY

A large expenditure of time, money and energy routinely goes into the preparation of food for the Campus community. This area of campus operations consumes a significant portion of resources and generates large volumes of wastes. Due to its unique characteristics, this particular area of campus operations is an excellent candidate for the adoption of focused and appropriate sustainable practices. One distinctive aspect is that most of food services are provided through our vendors/ contractors, who could be asked to meet sustainability goals and performance standards. Contract negotiation periods are a particularly important time for instituting reforms in dining services. A wide range of approaches are being developed by producers to sustainably grow food. The Malaysian public is increasingly familiar with the health and environmental benefits of organic farming (avoiding artificial pesticides and fertilizers).

Heavy consumption of meat and dairy products require special attention, as this activity is a leading source of water pollution (from animal wastes) and habitat loss. The other special consideration for Malaysians is the rapid rise in the consumption of calories, which requires that more food be grown, processed, transported and prepared – and is leading to a health crisis of truly large proportions. Thus campus food services and system have a crucial educational role (positive or negative) in educating students that food choices matter for health, environment and society.