Date of this Version
In September of 2005, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln University Dining Services/University Housing set out to try an innovation at the cutting edge for this region’s universities. The Good. Fresh. Local. (GFL) initiative was the product of a team of people and organizations looking to implement a program integrating the local food movement at the university level. The program has since grown in scale and prominence within the UNL setting. Students living in the dorms were surveyed to acquire an inside look at students’ definitions of “local,” measures of its value, awareness of the GFL program, and desire for more locally sourced food, among other questions. Through distribution of 500 surveys among all residence hall dining centers on City and East campus, not only was information obtained that could assist in evaluation of the GFL program, gathered data functioned as indicators of where students stand in terms of awareness of the local food movement. While awareness of the GFL program and value placed on locally produced products varied across the surveyed population, nearly 70% of 378 responses answered “yes” to a desire for an increased amount of locally sourced products on campus, only 1.3% answered “no,” and the remaining were “indifferent.” While further initiatives could be pursued to educate the student population on the meaning and importance of local food products, the GFL program has clearly been provided to a population base with similar desires. As a further component of this study, the feasibility of implementing a similar program in two nearby colleges (Nebraska Wesleyan University and Union College) was lightly examined. Due to unique components of these two schools, a GFL program executed mimicking the one at UNL would likely not be feasible, but potential for locally sourced food within their dining halls is neither inconceivable or unheard of and data gathered from UNL students in this study may serve to assist implementation of a similar program.