A Campus Circular Economy – From Farm to Table & Desk

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This project was funded by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) in 2016 .

Abstract

This project will not only contribute to sustainability on the Illinois campus, but also create a new standard. By continuing to use responsible and organic agricultural practices that promote soil and human health combined with re-using waste for paper production, SSF and FP together will create a sustainable circular economy on campus where students and faculty are not only consumers but producers. Students on campus will be able to purchase the produce and paper they can also be paid to help grow, harvest, and manufacture through our circular economy model. In every step of the way, the food and paper are more sustainable than their larger commercial counterparts and since they are on campus, have a much smaller carbon footprint. Also embedded in every action is conversation and awareness about sustainability. The print/digital material we plan to produce through our student labor and coordinator positions for SSF and FP, will explain and visually demonstrate the sustainability of the endeavor and food/product choices the students and faculty are making with their dollars.

Results

We employed around a dozen undergraduate and graduate students from UIUC during our two year paper CSA project. Our paper was sold online as CSA shares, at pop-up shops on and off campus, and on the Sustainable Student Farm Quad Sale. The project was a success in that it educated many campus and community members about the importance of switching from tree to agri-fiber to curb carbon emissions slowing down climate change issues. It, however, didn’t result in a economic self-sufficient model for a business. We continue to promote the paper and paper products (cards, prints, etc.) from this project in local venues and here online. You can see a sampling of some of the pieces made below.

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