The Whys and Hows of Local Food at the University of Notre Dame

Maria Sasso

Sasso Tomato

As the industrialization of the food economy continues to wreak havoc on our bodies and our planet, it becomes increasingly important for young people to understand and appreciate the benefits of sustainably grown, local food. Throughout my undergraduate career at the University of Notre Dame, I’ve come to appreciate the many benefits of local food and the thriving local food scene in South Bend.

The capstone project for the sustainability minor has given me the opportunity to share my passion for local food with my peers. My project focused on spreading awareness of local food and its benefits to the undergraduate student population at Notre Dame. My capstone seeks to explain the environmental and health dangers of the current industrial food system, while also exploring why and how local, sustainable food is a solution to these problems and many others plaguing our society. 

Bringing this topic of local food home to South Bend and Notre Dame has been the focus of my capstone project over the past year. The student body has notoriously been trapped in the “Notre Dame Bubble,” unwilling or unable to get into South Bend to see what this city has to offer. I hoped to solve a piece of this problem by researching local food hubs in the South Bend area and then making this information available to the student body. I put all my research on GreeND’s website so that people could explore at their leisure what I’d compiled. In learning about these organizations, I hoped to inspire my peers to go visit them, learn about them and the benefits of local food, and hopefully take what they learn and carry it with them wherever they end up after graduation.