WHITTIER – Lunch will taste fresher at Whittier College today. That’s because the chicken is from Pomona; the nonfat yogurt came from Chino; the honey is from Long Beach; the milk is from Norwalk; and the produce came from the Santa Monica Farmers Market and Earthwork Enterprises, an organic farm run by South El Monte High School students on a small plot in the Whittier Narrows area. It was quite a challenge finding all of the ingredients within 150 miles of the college’s campus for today’s second annual Eat Local Challenge, said Fabio Soto, general manager for Bon Appetit, the college’s food service management company. “It’s not an easy task,” Soto said. “On average, the food industry uses ingredients that travel 1,500 to 1,600 miles,” Planning for today’s menu also became a learning experience for 12 Whittier College students, who along with two professors, went along to select the produce. “It was like a classroom,” Soto explained. “The students gathered around the farmers and asked questions about what it’s like to be a small farmer and the hardships they encounter.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsThe idea behind the Eat Local Challenge, which is sponsored by Palo Alto-based Bon Appetit, is to raise awareness of the healthful, environmental and economic benefits of eating foods produced locally. Others participating in the challenge include Yahoo, the Getty Center, the Seattle Art Museum and more than 100colleges across the nation. Although food prepared daily at Whittier College’s Campus Inn is 90 percent from sources within a 150-mile radius, Soto said raising that to 100 percent for the challenge was tricky. Executive Chef Peter Alfaro had to reverse the menu-writing process. Instead of deciding what dishes he wanted to prepare and then determining what ingredients he needed, Alfaro had to first consider what ingredients were available within 150 miles before settling on a menu. But it’s worth it, Soto said. At last year’s Eat Local Challenge, students and faculty members said they definitely noticed an improved taste and freshness in the lunch menu ingredients, especially the fruits and vegetables, he said.