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  • Genevieve Fontana

Dr. Suchak: Canisius eco-heroine

By: Genevieve Fontana, Features Contributor

Food for thought: this Friday, we highlight eco-heroine Dr. Malini Suchak and her work as a Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) member and sustainability leader on campus. The GFPP promotes an equitable food system prioritizing health and well-being for people, animals and the environment. The organization aims to create more transparency regarding the supply chain and food moving from the farm to your plate. The campaign encourages large institutions to use their buying power to support the following values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition. While sustainability initiatives can sometimes come with a higher price tag, programs must be in place that align with our values and encourage individuals to make earth-friendly choices, ensuring a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Public schools, prisons and hospitals are examples of large public institutions that are highly encouraged to join the program.

Suchak became involved with this campaign after working for animal welfare at the federal level. Her role as a member of the organization is to spread awareness and provide outreach opportunities. She also shares her expertise on animal welfare, one of the campaign’s core values. In our conversation, we talked about the importance of eating locally: not only is local food more fresh and tastes better, but your dollars stay local as the money returns to your community. It is also better from an environmental standpoint, because less travel for the food helps to reduce carbon emissions.

Suchak has taken her passion for sustainability into our campus community by creating the Canisius Native Plant Project; you can see the fruits of her labor in this beautiful garden outside the library filled with native pollinator-friendly plants. Suchak emphasizes the importance of having these opportunities as a part of campus life, saying it is a “win, win, win! It is a win for the environment resource for pollinators, seeds birds can eat in the winter and a win aesthetically bringing people a lot of joy when walking by the garden.”

Soon, Suchak hopes to expand the project to another location on campus, and she mentioned potentially partnering with our landscapers, Elbers, to help sustain these gardens for the long term. Suchak reminds us as members of the Canisius community that it is hard to make a difference at the individual level: when many folks work together, we make the greatest impact.

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