Moving off campus can be difficult. On top of balancing your social life, school work, and extracurriculars, you suddenly find yourself juggling grocery shopping, meal prepping, budgeting, and cooking for yourself. When you head to the grocery store, it’s easy to forget that the choices you make affect your community and the environment. Did you know that 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste? Furthermore, when you shop at a traditional grocery store, farmers only receive 17 cents to the dollar, while distributors take the remaining 83 cents. It is important to be informed about how to make sustainable food choices and support local farmers. To maximize your positive impact on Ann Arbor’s food system and community, check out these tips and resources!
Quick Sustainability Tips:
Minimize Meat: Try eating a meal without meat one day a week. Meat production and distribution takes a huge toll on the environment.
Look Local: Learn more about how to eat smart and local in Ann Arbor
Go Organic: It’s better for your health and the environment.
Eat in Season: Check out what is growing near you.
Reduce Waste: Cut down on packaging that cannot be recycled, and be aware of how much of the product you throw out.
Wondering where you can find sustainable food options in Ann Arbor? Here are some on-campus organizations and off-campus markets that stock a variety of farm-fresh groceries.
Ann Arbor Student Food Co.: Students sell produce Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am-4pm in Mason Hall to bring awareness to food education within the community.
Maize and Blue Cupboard: Motivated by the rampant rise in food insecurity at the University of Michigan, this organization aims to help all students have access to healthy groceries. They give away free bags of produce and bread in the Trotter Multicultural Center.
Food Recovery Network: These students collect perishable foods from dining halls and other university cafes to donate to Food Gatherers, a local food bank that aims to alleviate hunger in Washtenaw County.
The Cooking Club at U-M: Their mission is to create an inclusive social space and non-competitive learning environment for students to learn how to cook tasty, nutritious dishes for when they move off campus. Attend one of their free bi-weekly events!
Sustainable Food Markets within Walking Distance:
Argus Farm Stop: Argus is a year round everyday farmer’s market selling locally grown produce, meats, and dairies. They have two convenient off-campus locations on West Liberty and Packard.
M Farmers Market: The MFarmers Market features produce and recipe demonstrations from local farmers. Thanks to Michigan Dining, Central Student Government, MHealthy, and Planet Blue, you can find local produce right on campus!
Ann Arbor Farmers Market: Located in the heart of Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market brings farm-fresh produce to the community from nearby family farms. They also host food trucks in the summers! The Farmers Market is open year round on Saturdays from 8am-3pm. In the warmer months from May through December, they are also open Wednesdays from 7am-3pm.
For more information and resources about sustainability, visit Planet Blue’s website to learn more about becoming a steward of the environment!
Contributed by Hershel Dorman & Lauren Ayako Tischler, U-M Sustainability