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Fish to Fork Eat Local Challenge

Release date: September 25, 2012

Goucher students, faculty, and staff can rise to the "Fish to Fork Eat Local Challenge" on Tuesday, September 25, and help support food producers in their community.

Bon Appétit Management Company, the college's food services provider, will serve a lunch made almost entirely from ingredients originating within a 150-mile radius of campus, focusing on sustainably harvested fish and seafood.

Just because a fish came off a nearby dock doesn't always make it a local fish, and local doesn't always equal "sustainable" in regards to certain species or how the fish were caught. Additionally, many conscientious consumers avoid farmed seafood entirely because they are unaware of responsible local producers. The Fish to Fork program outlines what "local" and "small-scale" mean for both wild and farmed seafood and elevates certain overlooked species that have both great flavor and ample supplies.

The seafood that will be highlighted as part of Goucher's Eat Local Challenge lunch will fit these criteria:

  • Traceability: Seafood suppliers must present a reliable system of traceability from the farm or the boat to Goucher's dining halls.
  • Size: Boats must be individually owned and operated and may not process the seafood on board. Aquaculture operations will be limited to those grossing less than $5 million per year, per species. Small-scale fishing and aquaculture operations that practice integrated multi-species fishing or aquaculture will be emphasized.
  • Distance: Boats should travel no more than 100 miles out to sea per trip. Distribution distance for wild fish or aquacultured products is limited to 500 miles by truck from dock or farm to Goucher's dining halls.
  • Species preferences: Low-on-the-food-chain species (such as sardines, oysters); species whose edible portion could be better used (such as scallops, much of which gets discarded by U.S. processors); less-widely eaten larger species that can substitute for one of the more species, such as tuna.


The Eat Local Challenge highlights the flavor of local, seasonal ingredients during peak harvest season, and it addresses local economic stability of nearby communities and food safety. This act, while seemingly simple, has far-reaching implications.

Besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, buying from local growers and watermen helps support sustainable farming practices that replenish the land and waters, and it can prevent foods that contain pesticides, hormones, heavy minerals, and antibiotics from reaching consumers' plates.

Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in corporations, specialty venues, and colleges and universities — including at Goucher. The company launched the Eat Local Challenge in 2005 to raise awareness about where food comes from, the importance of local versus organic, and the impact of "food miles" — the distance food travels from the farm or boat to the dining table.