Graduation Year

Spring 2010

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Bowen Close

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2011 Samantha Meyer


Pomona College is an institution deeply committed to sustainability and student well being; however these commitments are not reflected in the College’s food purchases. Before this study, an assessment of purchasing had not been conducted at Pomona College. Using the Real Food Calculator – a metric designed to evaluate food purchasing at academic institutions – I tracked all food purchased by one of the College’s dining halls over the course of one month. Each food item was assessed based on the potential health concerns of its ingredients and whether the item was locally produced, ecologically sound and/or humane to determine whether it should be considered Real. The assessment metric also lists ingredients with potential health concerns (including trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and others), which if present in the food item mean it cannot be considered Real.

Of the over $150,000 worth of food purchases made during the study, 8.9% qualified as Real Food. Each food that qualified as Real Food met the standards for at least one of the attributes (local, ecologically sound, or humane). A total of 2.1% of all food purchases qualified for two attributes. Of the foods assessed, over one third contained ingredients considered harmful to human health. If Pomona is serious about its commitments to sustainability and student well being, it is time to include food purchasing in these discussions. The study concludes with a series of recommendations to improve food purchasing at Pomona College.