The Davidson college farm, located off of Grey Road, began this semester as a place to grow food exclusively for the college dining services. It currently grows lettuce, cilantro, spinach, and has the growth of numerous other veggies, berries, and plant products in the works. Although it is far to small to support the entire Davidson College community, it hopes to offer a significant portion the fruit and vegetable necessities. The college has been working hard to provide local, sustainable dining options to the students. Although not as local, the beef served on campus is entirely from family cattle ranches in the United States. The Food Club was established in 2010 with a mission “to bring local, sustainable food to Davidson College.” The group also aims to support nearby farmers and the community.
This concept was once not as innovative as it sounds. Davidson College began in 1837 as a labor school, and much of the labor was allotted to the original Davidson farm, which provided a significant portion of the College’s food. Meat was raised nearby, and meals were planned around what was seasonably available. Since then, our food production and consumption has Mass produced, homogenized cultivation strips food of its nutritional value. Access to fresh vegetables and fruits has been replaced with cheap, yet non-nutritional, alternatives.
Globally marketed food products, mass produced over large geographic areas, can only be distributed throughout the world with unnatural processing and agriculture methods. The globalization of the agriculture market has come at the price of undermining the sustainability, health, and diversity of food in exchange for the ultimate goals of cost and efficiency.
Many people, like those on Davidson’s campus, have begun to reject this concept and try to find the direct link to agricultural producers in order to buy their food locally. Many local alternatives to large-scale globalized food producers are emerging throughout the world. The number of farmers markets are increasing dramatically, restaurants are advertising their locally raised or grown food, and consumers are shopping more mindfully of where their food came from. Local food has even become trendy.
Numerous efforts are being made in our nearby city of Charlotte, NC. A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program called Know Your Farms delivers farm fresh food to restaurants,cafeterias, and families in the Charlotte from the fields of farmers within a 40 mile radius. Astor Farms, also in Charlotte, is a farm that raises tilapia in an abandoned DHL warehouse near the airport in a pioneering effort of aquaculture to bring local food to the community, as well as make use of abandoned city land.
Globalization of information and commodities, as well as consumer demands for low prices, pressures businesses to compete on the global scale. This is not to say that this dispersion of products is entirely bad, but their are undeniable limits to the distance, something as important as our food, can travel and still retain its quality. Although the population of Davidson College is tiny, the efforts made here can support the local farmers, give students a healthy option, and raise awareness about the benefits of rejecting food coming out of the global market and opting to buy locally.