Locally Grown

In 2008, Event Management began partnerships with local and regional farmers to bring homegrown fresh produce and free-range poultry, beef, and lamb to catered events. We place a preference on the seasonal foods grown within our area to support local farmers and the economy.

“The Event Management team understands how important it is to offer sustainable menus featuring local ingredients, rotated by season, and to align all aspects of our services with the community’s demand for hospitality with a conscience."

Scott Wright, Vice President, Columbia University Campus Services

The culinary team creates unique menus that vary depending on what the farms yield in a given season. Menus may feature: Long Island duck, New Jersey tomatoes, strawberries (from our own strawberry farm in Hamden, CT), and Montauk tuna. Local products spend less time in transit and therefore arrive fresher; they also have a chance to ripen before shipping, unlike produce that is shipped cross country which must be unripe at shipping in order to not rot in transit, so they have more flavor. Additionally, local purchasing eliminates the need for long-distance hauling, therefore reducing the transportation carbon footprint.

While there are many benefits to purchasing locally grown food, challenges do exist. Finding fresh local produce during the winter season is difficult, especially since items like Jersey tomatoes and corn are ripest during the summer months. Despite this minor obstacle, the culinary team remains focused on buying locally whenever possible, purchasing no further from campus than Pennsylvania.