In Fall 2014, UCCS significantly increased its efforts on food purchasing, production, and literacy starting with a transition to university ownership of dining and food services. UCCS Dining and Food Services strives to be a recognized leader in service delivery and food sustainability. DFS will cultivate and nurture a healthy campus culture where access to wholesome, seasonal, and local food directly links to wellness, sense of place, and environmental protection. Aligning DFS with campus sustainability efforts allows for the integration of academic programs and community action, thereby providing students invaluable experiential learning opportunities. This includes preparing and serving healthy, flavorful, sustainable, and nutritious food produced through fiscally responsible and mindful practices that nourish and support our community.
The UCCS Farm and Greenhouse strives to provide high quality, organically-grown produce to UCCS's food service outlets as well as to educate the campus community about new gardening methods and sustainable growing solutions. Through researching a variety of avenues of organic gardening, the Greenhouse and Garden seeks to use innovative as well as traditional gardening practices. Our hope is that through education and outreach, the Greenhouse and Garden can become a resource center for sustainable organic gardening methods while producing delicious, nutritious organic fruits and vegetables for the UCCS community.
As part of SWELL, the Sports Nutrition Graduate Program initiated three programs as the foundation of Local Food Literacy.
The Flying Carrot is a collaborative effort between the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and the Sport Nutrition Graduate Program. It is an innovative mobile project that fosters food awareness and empowers individuals to improve the well-being of themselves, the community and the planet by providing creative hands-on food experiences, building cooking skills and improving access and awareness to local, seasonal food. Graduate students use food leftover from CSA's as base ingredients for their recipes. This ensures that the food is in season and the community members tasting the food at local farmers markets are able to find the locally sourced ingredients at the next booth over.
Food Next Door was an idea that generated from the First Year Seminar course 'Sustainable Me.' Four students wanted to see more of the food that came directly from the farm and greenhouse on campus. They wanted more education on where their food comes from, food miles, healthy options, and less meat options. The students put a name to the idea to help ground its context and promote an inviting environment to learn more about what we're eating. Sports Nutrition Graduate students and faculty spend time preparing, cooking, and serving food that is harvested from the farm and greenhouse along with our local foodshed. Numerous volunteers help with food prep all while learning cooking skills and understand the importance of local and sustainable food.
Grain School is an innovative training to provide participants with education covering a range of topics including the history of land-race grains, crop breeding, nutritional and health issues, baking and fermentation, and small-scale production techniques. The curriculum and teaching is through a partnership with Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance - a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening seed and food security in our region - and the UCCS Sport Nutrition Graduate Program. The program stemmed from the understanding that locally grown and milled grains are the missing component in many regional food systems. This education course aims to change the paradigm by training and empowering people to once again grow, mill and steward heritage grains. Grain School is open to the campus and broader community.
In 2010, UCCS students led a campaign to ban the sale of bottled water on campus. Empowered with the recognition of the serious negative impact on our environmental and human health resulting from the production, consumption and disposal of plastic bottled water, the group of students was able to campaign and pass a bill through the Student Government Association eliminating the sale of bottled water at UCCS. As of Fall 2014, UCCS has committed to eliminate the sale of bottled water throughout campus. In addition to our campus bottled water ban, our Take Back the Tap initiative encourages our on- and off-campus community to use their own water bottles and refill at the tap instead of purchasing bottled water. With an increase in use of reusable water bottles, the campus community voiced their concerns about relative ease of refilling their bottles on campus. Many grant proposals for the installation of hydration stations and goose-neck fillers have been submitted and approved through the Green Action Fund.
For more information about the equity, economic, and environmental reasons not to purchase bottled water, visit the sites below.
Food and Water Watch - Take Back the Tap Campaign
Food and Water Watch - Take Back the Tap Fact Sheet
Food and Water Watch - Corporate Control of Water
Food and Water Watch - Tap Water vs. Bottled Water
The Family Development Center, which offers early childhood programs and provides day care for students, faculty and staff as well as the community at large, has created an educational organic vegetable garden. Children share in watering and caring for the garden using the organic fertilizer made in their worm composter. The children learn about agriculture, weather, food, and recycling in a hands-on, sensory-filled, environment. Recently, the Family Development Center was named a National Wildlife Sanctuary (www.nwf.org), perhaps the only preschool in the nation to hold this designation.
"The greatest gift of our garden is the opportunity for all of the children to dig in the dirt and get in touch with the outdoors, a lost art for many city children." -- Ida Bauer, Director FDC
UCCS students, faculty, and staff established an organic vegetable garden at the Heller Center. The purpose of the garden is to educate the campus community, particularly younger students who may be away from home for the first time, about local, organic food, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural practices. The garden will serve as a living laboratory for research on variety of sustainability topics as well as provide delicious local, organic food.