Dining Service Provider ARAMARK Contributes to Evergreen's Organic Farm

Published: March 04, 2008 09:45 AM

$16,000 donation helps rebuild and expand greenhouses, reach conservation goals

Dining service provider ARAMARK is helping The Evergreen State College in its efforts to provide local, nutritious, and organic foods to students.

From Purple Marconi Peppers to Patty-Pan Flying Saucer Squash, purchasing levels for inimitable and tasty, local and organic foods are growing with help from a $16,000 donation from the company. According to Sharon Goodman, director of residential and dining services at Evergreen, the college has already bested its goal for 2010 by purchasing more than 42 percent of its food from local and organic sources. 

With completion of the new greenhouse structures and first planting in early February, it is likely that Evergreen could reach 47 percent production from local and organic sources, says Food Service Director, Craig Ward. 

Bringing the new green house structures online will also increase the economic potential of the organic farm and ecological agriculture efforts on campus. “Basically, we are helping to develop another revenue stream for the farm,” says Ward. “The additional purchases we foresee in February should build income as well as assist in Evergreen’s educational effort,” he adds.

Previous greenhouse structures were damaged by storms in December 2006. ARAMARK’s contribution along with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will mean replacement and expansion of greenhouse structures, meaning more square feet and increased projected supply for residential dining needs.

By reducing transportation emissions, sourcing food locally also will likely contribute to The Evergreen State College’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint and reaching climate neutrality by 2020.

Dining services needs most of its produce October through June while the typical growing season here is June through October, says Melissa Barker, organic farm manager:  “Using the greenhouses to extend the season is very important.”

“It also allows for a year-round agricultural teaching space,” adds Barker.  Evergreen offers instruction in organic agriculture on the organic farm.  The Evergreen State College’s three-acre organic farm produces sustainable food for dining services, an on campus farm stand, Community Supported Agriculture efforts, local food banks and charities.