Local Foods at Gonzaga
February 28, 2018
Zag Dining’s ongoing commitment to innovation in sustainability is reflected in our longstanding partnership with LINC Foods. LINC (Local Inland Northwest Cooperative) Foods is a worker and farmer owned cooperative headquartered in Spokane, Washington. It’s a “one-stop shop for local, sustainable food” that connects local farmers all throughout the greater Inland Northwest area to new markets and ensures the freshest produce possible. In order to sell their product through LINC, farmers cannot use pesticides or chemical fertilizers to ensure safe, healthy and fresh food.
Zag Dining at Gonzaga University has been recognized as a champion of LINC Foods since the beginning. Over the past three years, Zag Dining has invested over $100,000 in LINC Foods, which directly supports local farmers and provides healthy, delicious produce to the Gonzaga community. Our support for LINC Foods has helped the company grow from a tiny startup to a thriving and profitable company.
Local produce delivered from LINC Foods is featured daily at every meal in the COG, our main campus dining hall. As students enter the COG every day, a list of the local produce featured at the meal is prominently displayed, as well as advertised on our daily Snapchat story. On the local produce information sheet, we also note which farm it comes from! A farm-to-table story is a powerful tool for sharing the impact of eating local food.
In addition to daily produce, Zag Dining hosts special events to highlight local farms. On November 29th, we featured beef from Lazy R Ranch, a local fourth-generation family ranch dedicated to environmentally sustainable farming. At our local lunch event, we served a sloppy joe sandwich made with Lazy R beef, and local onions and potatoes from some of our other local LINC farms. The beef from Lazy R Ranch is 100% grass fed, with no antibiotics, hormones or grain. Lazy R Ranch farmers came to the event and were able to talk to the Gonzaga community about their sustainable meat and the importance of eating local and supporting family farms.
Another aspect of local food we focused on featuring is certified humanely-raised meat. At the end of every semester, Zag Dining hosts a late-night breakfast “Cram Jam” as a relax and refuel for students studying for finals. This fall semester, on December 11th, Cram Jam featured humanely-raised pork from local Scabland Farm. This year, over 1,245 students attended the event, enjoying chorizo and egg breakfast burritos. The farmers from Scabland Farm were there to chat with attendees about what it means to humanely raise livestock. At Scabland Farm, pigs are raised in a pasture, fed locally milled peas and barley, and treated respectfully from birth to butcher.
Zag Dining purchasing local, humane and environmentally conscious food represents our commitment to the vision of the Sodexo Better Tomorrow 2025 Plan, as well as our partnership with the Gonzaga Sustainability Team’s Real Food Challenge.