Locally sourced food could cut costs in new SU

Erin Gutschke | Mercury Staff

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UTD is in desperate need for affordable and sustainable food options, and locally-sourced dining options in the new Student Union can accomplish that goal by both improving students’ health and stimulating the local economy.

After exerting all your mental energy trying to understand your last lecture, you’re starving, and you have 15 minutes to grab food. The Halal Shack line is way too long, you’re on a time crunch and you don’t want fast food – you had enough Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Panda Express during freshman year to last a lifetime. You need a filling, fresh and nutritious meal to keep you energized and awake in your afternoon class, but you can’t find a convenient option. Luckily, the university already spearheads environmentally-focused programs, and providing locally-grown food options can significantly UTD’s carbon footprint as well as improving prices. According to the City of Phoenix’s Let’s Eat Local program, cutting out the costs of cross-country or cross-continental food transportation can make it cheaper for consumers.

Sourcing food locally can help strengthen the local economy and build stronger bonds with the Richardson community. The City of Dallas is already gearing up to promote locally sourced food, as their Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability has created a plan to take advantage of the benefits of locally food through reducing regulatory barriers, increasing land availability and coordinating links between suppliers and buyers. UTD could easily tap into this infrastructure to increase its own food options.

Dining on campus at UTD can be cost-prohibitive; most prices can range from $7 to 10, which is not affordable for a typical college student to eat every day. Just eating at the Student Union five days a week for lunch at an average price of $8.50 can total to $170 in meal costs per month. By adding more affordable and nutritious dining locations on-campus, students will be able to enjoy nourishing food that will keep them full for longer, and at reasonable prices that they can stomach.

Comets with dietary restrictions have an even more challenging experience trying to find food options on campus that give them energy to get through their classes. For example, Comets who are vegan or vegetarian have even fewer choices that may fit within their budget or are available to them.

Now is the time for students to call on SG and UTD Dining to explore locally source food, as the new Student Union provides a chance for us to remake food at UTD for the better


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