The City of Ottawa is made up of over 90 per cent rural lands, and home to 1,128 farms. The area counts dairy, chicken, maple syrup, and cranberries among its many local products. With this kind of bounty, it’s not surprising that local food is the star of Ottawa menus. The challenge is when those menus need to serve thousands of students, three times a day. Carleton University, along with its partner Aramark Canada, stepped up to the Local Food Challenge in a big way, with their chefs celebrating Go Local every Wednesday at their Fresh Food Company. Last October, students and foodservice staff were taken on a day-long tour of the farms of Ottawa, learning first-hand how their food gets from farm to plate, and the challenges that face hard working farmers in the area. Their hard work paid off, and at the end of the Local Food Challenge, their local purchases totaled over $500,000, representing 37 per cent of their total food purchases.
What They Told Us: “The Local Food Challenge grant allowed us to deepen student understanding of Local Food, and celebrate the farms of Ottawa and Ontario throughout our menus.” - Zach Kleiman, Marketing Program Manager, Aramark at Carleton University