One of the Sustainability Goals of UCLA is to ensure that 20% of the food purchases made are sustainable by 2020. Sustainable food includes the following: local, fair trade certified, organic, grass-fed meat, humane, cage-free, etc. (See other categories here) Here is a further breakdown of a few of the sustainable food categories as well as why these categories are so important to UCLA.
- Organic means that crops are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and is grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Meat and dairy animals must be raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and given organic feed
- The effects of pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms on human health have not been fully researched
- The use of chemical agents and GMOs also has adverse effects on the environment
Thinking Globally: Fair Trade
- Fair trade is about agriculture that uses more sustainable practices, empowers workers and pays them a fair wage, guarantees rights to women, gives children access to education, helps fight poverty, and provides health care
- UCLA sells fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate at on-campus coffeehouses
Thinking Locally: Farm to Plate
- On average, the food that we eat travels about 1,500 miles
- UCLA defines local food as food that is “locally grown, raised, handled and distributed (local defined as no more than 500 miles)”
- Air pollution from transportation, use of fossil fuels, loss of family farms and environmental degradation due to corporate monoculture affects the quality of the food we eat
What Will You Decide?
- Whenever you make a purchase, you are making a decision that has larger repercussions for our society and our world: you vote with your dollar and your fork!
What has UCLA Health Done?
UCLA Health has exceeded its goal of 20% sustainable purchases by 2020.
- Every Monday is Meatless Monday in the Dining Commons at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the Cafeteria at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center
- Health benefits of consuming less meat include: reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and a longer lifespan
- Environmental benefits include: a decreased carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimized water use (livestock require a lot of water!), and reduced fossil fuel dependence (meat production also requires a lot of energy)
- Unsustainable meat production isn’t great for the animals either