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Our food choices have a significant impact on the environment. From the way our food is grown to the amount of transportation it takes to get it to our table, each step of the process leaves a footprint. And with Thanksgiving around the corner, this is the time of year when many of us consider where our food comes from.
As an employer of 94,000 people in over 100 countries around the world, Microsoft is keenly aware that the dining choices offered at its campuses can be a positive part of our effort to be a more sustainable business. At our Puget Sound campus we started a program in July 2012 called Farm to Fork that partners with more than 60 regional farmers, ranchers and fishers to supply our dining hall with fresh options for our 41,000 employees in Puget Sound.
The Farm to Fork program does more than provide healthy food for our employees—it also supports local businesses. Microsoft receives fresh foods from producers such as Willie Green’s Organic Farm (produce), Hayton Farms (seasonal berries) and Lummi Island Wild (wild salmon). Partnering with local businesses supports a vibrant local community, an important part of Microsoft’s corporate culture. In 2011 Microsoft and its employees donated $52 million to nonprofit organizations in Washington State. The Farm to Fork program continues this commitment by purchasing regularly from local producers.
In addition to providing our employees with healthy, fresh and seasonal foods every day, the Farm to Fork program lowers our carbon footprint by keeping a significant amount of the food in our cafeterias local and limiting the amount of transportation needed to supply our dining services. This initiative supports our larger effort to be carbon neutral by the 2013 fiscal year, and shows that we need to consider every aspect of our business operations to continue making Microsoft leaner, greener and more accountable.