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UVA students use campus card to purchase fresh, local food

A new initiative at the University of Virginia will enable students to purchase fresh, locally grown food using Virginia’s University ID and “Plus Dollars” that are included in student meal plans.

According to the Cavalier Daily, the initiative is set to begin fall 2016 and will be led by Greens to Grounds — a non-profit, student-run agricultural organization dedicated to making fresh, local food available to students. Together with UVA dining services, the initiative will enable the use of Plus Dollars to purchase the products. Students can also place their orders for these products online.

Students will be able to choose food offerings in pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes, with menus being updated every week. These healthy and nutritious base packages typically cost no more than $10. Boxes will contain a variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as dairy and bread items.

The initiative is also bolstering the campus’ relationship with its surrounding community. Local Food Hub, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food, is working with Greens to Grounds to plan what food will be included in the student food boxes.

UVA’s Plus Dollars are included in student meal plans and are available for use at on-campus, university-run dining locations. The funds are also untaxed. Unused funds transfer from the Fall to the Spring semester, but are non-refundable or transferable to a new academic year. Plus Dollars can be used for food purchases only, and are only available to students who have purchased a UVA meal plan.

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