UVa Compost Expansion

UVa Dining is making significant strides on the waste-to-landfill reduction front, with the addition of Newcomb Dining Hall in its compost program just two weeks ago. This expansion comes after sixteen months of smooth composting operation at O-Hill; throughout that time, over 50 tons of organic waste were diverted from the Amelia County landfill. As has been the case since the program's inception in the fall of 2008, all dining food waste is run through a pulper (to remove water and increase surface area of the food - and its ability to break down) and transported by UVa Recycling to Panorama Farm in the northern part of Albemarle County. UVa Dining is grateful for the cooperative efforts of UVa Recycling, Panorama Pay-Dirt, and UVa Environmental Health & Safety Office for helping Dining significantly reduce its environmental impact. Composting at O-Hill and Newcomb combined will be diverting approximately 4.5 tons of food waste from the landfill per week!

I had the pleasure of taking this success story to a recent NACUBO Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conference and presenting a poster on our program. The conference was the perfect opportunity to share our waste reduction efforts with a higher education audience - hopefully other schools will be able to implement similar programs without too many obstacles.


Do It Yourself Gardening... With Some Help

Now that the snow is finally melting and the sun is shining a little warmer every day, many of Charlottesville's green thumbed foodies are itching to get planting and to watch their spring garden take root. For those of us that may have the desire but need a bit of help getting started, no fear: this food-conscious town has given birth to not one but two organizations specifically designed to help us Charlottesville residents realize our small scale agrarian dreams.

According to their website, Blue Ridge Backyard Harvest "offers complete garden consultation, design, installation, four-season maintenance, education, and more." They can help install that garden you've always wanted, and even delve further into chicken keeping, mushroom cultivation, rain barrel installation, and the like.

Similarly, C'ville Foodscapes "designs, installs, and maintains food-producing gardens in Charlottesville, Virginia." Join them for their official launch party at Random Row Bookstore this Sunday, March 7th from 2-5pm. The gathering will feature a seed swap, raffle, garden crafts, live music, and of course food.

Bravo to Blue Ridge Backyard Harvest and C'ville Foodscapes -- I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors!


Aramark: Sustainability in the Food Service Environment

Aramark recently released a white paper on sustainability, entitled Sustainability in the Food Service Environment. Its publication is a result of a partnership with the IFMA Sustainability Committee; one initiative resulting from that committee is the creation of a series of "How-To Guides" related to sustainability issues within the facilities management realm. This particular guide takes a wide lens view on tackling environmental conservation at a food service locale, covering topics from responsible procurement - food and packaging - to energy and waste stream management. Feel free to give it a look over (click on the picture of the report to access the entire pdf) and to leave a comment with the recommendation you'd like to see UVa Dining implement!