Sustainable Food Products
Student-Operated Organic Farm
With support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University Farm Laboratory at Fresno State has been able to establish and maintain the campus' only organic farm plot. Approved by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in May 2008, the farm is approximately 0.8 acres and is used as an educational tool for students in the agricultural sciences. Seven students are currently working on this project, however, the farm is also open to student organizations and volunteers to help harvest excess produce for donations to agencies such as the Fresno Community Food Bank and Poverello House. The organic farm is also making a small profit at the Gibson Farm Market, selling some of its seasonal produce such as tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cantaloupe, zucchini and squash.
The farm is currently being used to test Drip and Micro Sprinkler irrigation systems that are computer operated. This system collects data from sensors in the soil, and adjusts the amount of water given based on the demand. Minimizing the amount of excess water administered also helps to keep weed growth down, which can often be an issue when growing organic crop. The organic farm also houses vermicomposting bin as well as a three-bin small composting scale. There are approximately15 acres which are on the second year transition. In October 2010, these 15 acres will also be certified organic farmlands.
Fresno State Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market
The Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market is an example of sustainable agriculture, selling locally-grown produce from Fresno State's very own farms, including the organic plot. The farm market is currently providing incentives to customers who go green by either purchasing one of their Red Reusable Shopping Totes, or bringing in their own reusable bag, box, crate, etc. By choosing to shop sustainably, customers are rewarded with automatic entry to monthly raffles for gift certificates and prizes provided by the Fresno State Farm Market.
University Dining Hall
The dining hall has taken a number of measures to "go green", including its most recent decision to go trayless. Not only did this help to reduce food consumption and waste by students, it has saved money and decreased the amount of water used to wash. Aside from removing trays from the dining hall, University Dining Services has decided to use entirely eco-friendly products for catering events. Instead of traditional paper and plastic utensils, they are providing biodegradable plates, napkins, cups and cutlery. Once used, these utensils are being collected and taken to the farm where they are composted. Further efforts are being made to eventually get all dining hall food waste composted and used to fertilize crops at the farm.