Tracey Roy, associate director of procurement in the Department of Dining Services, discussed why the University of Connecticut’s Dining Services finds it important to support local farms and companies.
Roy said there are numerous reasons for Dining Services to support farms in the area surrounding UConn. In particular, she touched on the benefits of supporting local businesses and the lessened environmental impact of shopping locally.
“There are so many reasons to support local/family-owned businesses. We are supporting our community. We are supporting the employment of members of this community,” Roy said. “There is little to no transit and environmental cost which is sustainable for all. You get to meet people that grew your products and nurtured them to their final destination.”
Additionally, Roy said supporting local businesses can provide a level of comfort for students. She said the food is often fresher, and knowing where it comes from can make students more comfortable.
“I believe local is fresher and provides a benefit to the community,” Roy said. “People like to know where their food comes from.”
Roy drew attention to two local businesses, Sardilli Produce and Mountain Dairy, as major sources for Dining Services. Sardilli Produce has been UConn’s primary produce provider for several years, and Mountain Dairy has become UConn’s sole dairy vendor in recent years.
“Sardilli Produce has been our prime produce supplier for almost five years,” Roy said. “We have had a relationship with Mountain Dairy for over 10 years and they became our sole dairy vendor in 2018.”
Additionally, Roy listed 13 other local businesses that dining services has a relationship with. These vendors provide much of the university’s produce like squash, tomatoes and strawberries.
Roy said students should recognize the support dining services offers to local businesses. She said UConn is one of the primary purchasers of local produce.
“Students at UConn should know UConn is one of the largest purchasers of local produce,” Roy said.