The Big Green Bus comes to town

This Friday, July 2nd, from 11am to 3pm, a group of twelve Dartmouth undergraduates traversing the country in a veggie oil-fueled bus will be stationed at the Newcomb Plaza to show off their sustainably run vehicle and offer advice and share tips on how to simultaneously simplify one's life and save money and resources.

From their website: "Our mission is to help create a future that sustains people, the environment, and the economy. We promote simple lifestyle changes that conserve money, energy, and resources through improving efficiency in every day activities."

If you're in the area, stop by Newcomb Plaza for what is sure to be some good, thought-provoking discussion. A few sustainability representatives from UVa, including Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Nina Morris and I, will also be on hand to share the UVa perspective.


Sustainable Agriculture Resource Library

Aside from coming to see all of the lovely staff members over here in the Dining Admin Office, you now have another reason to pay a visit to the ground floor of O-Hill Dining Hall: Dining officially is home to a small but strong sustainable ag resource library! Book topics run the gamut from food justice to fast food exposes; from the locavore movement to the US reliance on government farm subsidies -- truly a fascinating range, and indicative of the myriad problems and solutions to our food system along with displaying the many angles from which sustainable food can be approached.

This library is geared towards students, of course, but is open to all members of the University community. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the Dining Admin Office and venture into the conference room to check out what's on the shelf.

Titles include:
Bringing it to the Table - Wendell Berry
Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty - Mark Winne
Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly - James McWilliams
This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader - Joan Dye Gussow
Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It - Anna Lappe
Fields of Plenty: A Farmer's Journey in Search of Real Food and the People that Grow It - Michael Ableman
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats - Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health - Marion Nestle
What Are People For? - Wendell Berry
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life - Barbara Kingsolver
The Garden and Farm Books of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal - Eric Schlosser
Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet - Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon

Having hand-picked (and read nearly) all of the titles with some helpful student input, I can assure you that working your way through this library will ensure your development into a well-educated and sophisticated foodie... and I mean that in the best possible sense. Happy reading!


Summertime in the Dining office

There haven't been many events to advertise or reflect upon as of late, but despite the students' summer absence, Dining has been surprisingly busy. There is plenty of behind the scenes work going on, particularly as we are opening several new retail locations in the fall.

I paid a recent visit to the Local Food Hub warehouse and got to see what they currently had in stock -- there was a great variety of produce and other items like locally bottled water, eggs, cider, and more on the shelves. They also have these neat produce boxes that come labeled with the type of vegetable (say, broccoli) in which they can store the appropriate veggies -- speeds up the identification process in the chilly walk-in cooler! I am excited to see our relationship with them grow and develop in time for the beginning of the next academic year and the hungry appetites sure to pass through the dining halls.

The UVa Community Garden is also a lush looking spot right across the street from O-Hill dining hall. I had a short-lived but delightful near-daily strawberry foraging excursion when they were still in season. The most satisfying moment came when I spotted a couple of UVa employees looking curiously at the garden as they walked past; I called out to them and invited them over to taste the strawberries fresh off the vine. There was a look of genuine pleasure as they savored those mouthfuls of bursting-with-ripeness sweetness.

Don't forget to check out the Green Dining calendar for community food-related events happening throughout the summer -- students may be away, but the produce is coming in, and now is the time to enjoy it, be it volunteering at the Local Food Hub farm, having a local food dinner at one of your favorite area wineries, going out to one of a number of local u-pick operations, or just gardening or cooking in your own yard or kitchen.