Farm to Table Initiative

Paul Smith's College Sustainability


The Farm to Table Initiative is a joint effort of the  Campus Sustainability Office and the Lakeside Dining hall in response to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

The goals of the Farm to Table Initiative are:

  • To reduce greenhouse gas emission through responsible purchasing
  • To support our local economy
  • To connect students to our local foodshed

Based off of these goals and the mission of the Farm to Table Committee, a work study position was funded to evaluate where the Lakeside Dining hall stands in terms of  local food purchasing.

Eating Fresh From the Farm

Eating fresh from the farm, all year long — Sequel magazine

Paul Smith’s College Farm to Table Initiative

In partnership with Sodexo Dining Services, Paul Smith’s College is committed to supporting the development of a Sustainable Food System here in New York State and specifically the Adirondack North Country. We hope to achieve this through the following objectives:

A. Economically supporting our local food system by increasing the amount of local products (ADK/North Country, within 250 miles, within NY State) purchased for on campus consumption.

B. Providing educational opportunities for our student body, and surrounding community, to connect to our local foodshed and learn about sustainable food system development.

C. Identifying barriers and developing opportunities for local famers to gain access to new markets, particularly institutional markets, here in the ADK North Country.

D. Increasing the capacity of Paul Smith’s College to grow, raise, and process food on campus for both personal and on-campus consumption.

Fledgling Crow Farm Visit day Tour w Brit

Fledgling Crow Farm visit day tour

Farm to Table Sub-Committee Mission:

The mission of the Dining Hall Farm to Table Sub-Committee is to support the first objective of the Farm to Table Initiative. “A. Economically supporting our local food system by increasing the amount of local products (ADK/North Country, within 250 miles, within NY State) purchased for on campus consumption.”

Part 1: Inventorying our current local food purchasing. A Farm to Table Assistant will inventory the Lakeside Dining Hall invoices for the academic year of 2012-2013, 2016-2017 and 2019-2020 to determine how much of the purchased food is sourced from within a 250 mile radius. Other categories for foodstuffs such as Certified Fair Trade (Coffee), Certified Sustainable Seafood, and Certified Organic foodstuffs will also be researched and inventoried. The Farm to Table Assistant position is funded both through Sodexo Lakeside Dining and the Campus Sustainability Office.

Part 2: Conduct a campus-wide assessment utilizing various methods including online survey, focus groups and interviews, also research existing models at other university and institutional settings in order to inform the development of Priority Purchasing Guidelines.

Part 3: Identify and approach local and regional farmers who are interested in partnering with the college by sourcing produce and products, developing growing agreements, and providing educational opportunities for students and the community. Also continue to develop partnership with Purdy and Sons (New York State supplier).

Current goals

  • 20% local by the year 2020.
  • Inventory of products from all campus dining hall purchases 2012-2013, 2016-2017, 2019-2020.
  • Establishment of Campus Priority Purchasing Guidelines

What is local?

  • Defined by the USDA as food grown and distributed within a 250 mile radius.

Why should you care?

  • Local food supports your local economy
  • Higher nutritional value
  • Reducing carbon footprint through fewer food miles
  • Participating in a local food culture
  • Connecting community to a local food shed

Barriers to local food at PSC

  • Quantity of food needed vs. quantity of local food available
  • Local farms access Sodexo’s approved distributors
  • The often higher cost associated with local food
  • Student preference – you vote with your food choices!
  • Sodexo’s distributors willingness to track and release data


  • Gould’s Garden expansion
  • Dining Hall fryer Oil Recycling Program
  • Plate Scrapes by Students for Environmental Action
  • Local Baked Goods
  • Food Scraps for Pigs Program

Amount of local purchased


  • Byrne Dairy ($33,131) 41%
  • Renzi ($25,411) 31%
  • Purdy & Sons ($9,794) 12%
  • Miscellaneous ($6,280) 7%
  • Beer & Wine ($5,068) 6%
  • Sysco ($1,226) 1.5%
  • TOTAL ($80,911) 100%

Percentage of local purchased


  • Byrne Dairy 4%
  • Renzi 3%
  • Purdy & Sons 1%
  • Maple Syrup 1%
  • Beer & Wine .08%
  • Sysco .2%
  • Doesn’t meet qualifications 90%

Tier system

This is the proposed tier system for sourcing food through the Lakeside Dining hall.

The first priority is to purchase food locally.

The second most important purchasing guideline is to buy food from within New York State. Food that cannot be purchased within New York State will be purchased regionally (Northeast, New England, etc.).

If food cannot be purchased locally, within New York State, or regionally (such as coffee), Lakeside Dining will seek responsibly sourced products. “Responsibly sourced” encompasses a number of things and includes, but is not limited to, organic, fair trade, and/or cage-free certifications.

We Grow – Gould’s Community Garden

This past summer the Culinary Department ran their summer St. Regis course. The students spent 4 hours each Monday morning tending to their garden plot. This season they planted: Sweet 100 tomatoes, beets, carrots, watermelon radish, peas, green beans, arugula, Patty Pan squash, and nasturtiums. These items were featured on their menu in the St. Regis.

Additionally (not related to culinary class), Gould’s Garden contains the tree nursery run by Randall Swanson. From this tree nursery they can sell young trees for fundraisers. In addition, there is a perma-culture garden complete with 20 black currant bushes, nut trees, red raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and willows.

Also, we have community garden plots. This past season we were able to welcome 15 community gardeners including current students, alumni, faculty and staff. We did a rhubarb maintenance workshop, a garlic planting workshop, and a fall clean up day where we installed 2 new 20′ raised beds.

Paul Smith’s College Center for Campus Sustainability
Pickett 109
Sustainability Coordinator: Katharine Glenn, 518.327.6054