Reusable Mug Punch Cards

Do you ever bring your own reusable mug with you to get coffee or tea on Grounds?  Did you know that you can be eligible for free or discounted beverages if you use a reusable mug in our Dining locations?

Dining launched its reusable mug punch card program in October of 2009 (to coincide with Campus Sustainability Day) and it's been a popular program ever since.  Our cafes collect the completed cards and return them to the Dining Admin Office in order to keep track of landfill diversion.

As of now, since fall 2009, Dining has received 527 fully completed punch cards!  With 10 instances of reusable mug usage per card, that means that together we've all diverted at least 5270 disposable cups from the landfill!

That doesn't include the cards that students are still working their way through, or the reusable mugs that have been used for a discount in place of a card punch.  I think that collectively UVa could probably aim to get about 75 of those punch cards completed by the end of the semester to bring up our diversion count to over 6000 cups!  Get your punch card today - all you have to do is ask your friendly cashier at any cafe register.


Local Food Hub's Spring Workshops

Yesterday's snow aside (or perhaps due to it), are you starting to get spring fever?  You're in luck, as the Local Food Hub has announced its spring workshops! Take a look and register if you're interested (you can now register and pay online). The Food Hub does expect these to sell out.

Sustainable Soil Management
Date: March 15, 2012
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Maple Hill Farm
Cost: $25
RSVP: email info@localfoodhub.org or call (434) 286-2176

Beginning Beekeeping
Date: April 1, 2012
Time: 9:00am – 3:30pm
Location: Ivy Creek Natural Area
Cost: $35
RSVP: email info@localfoodhub.org or call (434) 286-2176

Edible Landscaping
Date: May 17, 2012
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Maple Hill Farm
Cost: $35
RSVP: email info@localfoodhub.org or call (434) 286-2176

Local Food Hub Educational Farm at Maple Hill


Film Screening on 2/22: The End of the Line

Please join the UVa Food Collaborative next Wednesday, February 22, at 7pm, for their first film screening of the semester. The film is End of the Line, about our declining fisheries.  After the film, participate in a discussion with Environmental Sciences Professor Steve Macko and creators of the Charlottesville Community Supported Fishery, Jack Cochran and Doug Dickerson.

The event is at the UVa Architecture School, in Campbell Hall, Room 153. Free parking is available in the Culbreth Parking Garage.

Watch the trailer for the film here or below.


Meet Sydney Gunn: U.Va. Dining Sustainability Intern

Meet this year's U.Va. Dining Sustainability Intern, first year Sydney Gunn.

In her own words:
Hi! My name is Sydney Gunn and I am the first year UVa Dining Sustainability Intern.  I grew up in the Hampton Roads area and graduated from Norfolk Academy after 10 years of attendance.  I have always been very interested in the different things that I could do personally to help make our society greener.  I was really excited to get the opportunity to avidly work on initiatives to help UVa become a more sustainable environment.  I was so happy and surprised to see how much UVa Dining already did to work towards this goal and I am eager to be a part of continuing to make our Grounds more sustainable and green!
Sydney, Sustainability Intern


Happy Fair Trade Valentine's Day

Who doesn't like a little chocolate on Valentine's Day?! 

UVa Dining celebrated a sustainable holiday with free samples of Green & Black's Fair Trade certified chocolate.  Green & Black's chocolate is available for sale every day at Crossroads!

Dining Educators handing out chocolate samples and educating other students about Fair Trade products.

Look for these chocolate bars in Crossroads.

Samples and handouts.

Our Dining Educators (from L to R), Kierra, Ashley, and Sydney.
Here's some information about Fair Trade certification from the Fair Trade USA website:
Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We're a nonprofit, but we don't do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.
An informative video that sums up the benefits of Fair Trade is also available on their site.

We hope that the rest of your Valentine's is as sustainable (and delicious) as this portion was!


Free Chocolate Sampling Tomorrow (Valentine's Day)

You don't want to miss the chance to celebrate Valentine's Day in style tomorrow!  From 11-1, our friendly Dining Educators will be giving out free samples of Green & Black's organic and Fair Trade certified chocolate right outside of Crossroads (where Green & Black's is sold daily).  The dark chocolate (70% cocoa content) and almond flavors will be featured.  Come learn about Fair Trade certification and why it's an important part of UVa Dining's sustainability platform.


Twin Oaks Tofu Event: Recap

Wow - last night's tofu event was a blast!  I'm glad so many students stopped by the tables at Runk, Newcomb, and O'Hill to learn more about Twin Oaks and sample their delicious tofu (and perhaps even try it for the first time?!).

Take a look at the photos below and keep an eye out for the next time Twin Oaks tofu is served in our dining rooms.  (Hint: it's every day!)

The Twin Oaks Tofu logo and slogan sums it up.

O'Hill's tofu dish: Sesame Tofu and Cucumber Salad in a Mango Dressing.  One student claimed that it was the best dish she had ever eaten at O'Hill!

Richard hamming it up for the camera.

The tofu spread

Richard and Louise serving up the good stuff

Tofu cube samples

The station at Runk

Runk's dish: tofu teryaki slider with a sweet potato crisp and organic salad greens

Some of our Dining Educators holding down the fort

Chef Brett knows how to set up a beautiful plate presentation!

Tofu samples

Our Dining chefs at work

Tofu for the taking

Newcomb's dish was a tofu lo mein stir fry in a pineapple glaze

Sampling the herbed tofu - locally processed and organically certified

Serving up

The sampling tray


Tofu Tasting Tomorrow

What: Healthy Bites Tofu Sampling and Station
When: Wednesday, February 8, 5-8pm
Where: Newcomb, Runk, O'Hill

Did you know that UVa Dining gets virtually all of its tofu from a local processor (and intentional living community), Twin Oaks, in nearby Louisa, Virginia?  That's right: the tofu you see daily at the salad bar or in any number of dishes in the dining halls - even the tofu available at Burrito Theory in the Pav - is all locally manufactured.  It's also certified organic!

All three residential dining rooms will be sampling Twin Oaks herbed tofu and serving a tofu-based entree at their Vegetarian station tomorrow evening.  O'Hill promises to be a special treat as representatives from Twin Oaks will be on hand to help with the sampling and answer any questions you might have about tofu.

To whet your appetite, here's a list of what each chef plans to serve:
Newcomb -- Pineapple Soy Glazed Tofu with Lo Mein Noodles at the Vegetarian Station
Runk -- Teryaki Tofu Slider with Sweet Potato Chips at the Veggie Fair Station
O'Hill -- Sesame Tofu Salad with Cucumber in a Mango Sauce at the Vegan and Vegetarian Station

See you tomorrow!


Introducing Reusable To-Go Containers at the Ka-pow Food Truck

Ever wondered why you couldn't get your food truck food in a reusable to-go container?  Starting today, wonder no longer: Dining is introducing reusable to-go containers at the Ka-pow Food Truck in the amphitheater!

The Ka-pow truck has a new sign announcing the program
Ditch the disposable and get reusable to-go!

As a refresher for us all, here's a run-down of how the program works.  (For the visually inclined, watch our minute-long you-tube video on the program!)

1. Register for the program with a cashier at any participating location* and pay your refundable $5 cash deposit.
2. Receive two program key tags.
3. Exchange a key tag for a clean reusable to-go container.
4. Bring back your used container to any participating location* and either
  a) get a clean container for your next take-out meal, or
  b) get a key tag if you're not getting to-go immediately.

*Participating locations:
Newcomb To-Go Room
Pav XI
Fine Arts Cafe
West Range Cafe
Shea House
Wilsdorf (drop-off only)

Will you be the inaugeral to-go container user at Ka-pow?


Reusable To-Go Container video

For your viewing pleasure, Dining offers a brief explanatory video about the reusable to-go container program.


Green Dining Meeting Minutes, 1/30/12

I haven't done this before, but thought it would be informative to post the minutes from Green Dining meetings on the blog for public viewing.  This set is from our meeting held this past Monday.  Email me or leave a comment if you have any feedback!

1. RecycleMania. It's that time of the year again - RecycleMania gets underway this coming week and UVa is competing against other schools around the country for bragging rights about our recycling efforts! Weekly updates will be posted around Grounds. More info at http://recyclemania.org/.

2. Virginia Food Security Summit. The Food Security Summit in December was a success. The main focus of the event was to review and informally launch the Virginia Farm To Table plan, which is currently offline as it moves from draft to final phase. In the meantime, the event organizers have put together a great summary about the summit. Videos are also available, all at http://virginiafoodsummit.org/.

3. Meat Free Monday station. Dining has introduced a new set of dishes at the Newcomb, Runk, and O'Hill Meat Free Monday stations. Try out such yummy dishes over the coming weeks as Spinach & Chickpea Curry over Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Falafel Pita Wrap, and Apple & Butternut Squash soup!

4. Guest blog posts. I'm looking for some of you to do a stint as a guest blogger on the Green Dining blog (that would be this site!).  Whether you'd like to advertise an upcoming event, review a sustainable Dining program, or discuss various food system goings on, get in touch with me.

5. World Water Day, March 22. This year's World Water Day theme is "Water & Food Security", which is a great opportunity to connect the dots between our water and food supplies. Leave a comment on the UVa Sustainability facebook page if you have any suggestions for groups to attend the WWD info fair on 3/22, or ways for the University to celebrate. More info at http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/.

6. Waste Management questions.
-Is it possible to expand the reusable to-go container program to include cups?
-Is it possible for Dining to offer reusable mugs at on-Grounds cafes?
-Is it possible to offer reusable to-go containers at the food trucks?  Update: this is in the works at our Ka-pow truck!

7. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood App. If you'd like to download: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx

8. Morven Summer Institute. Morven is offering its summer institute program again this year. Learn more: http://www.virginia.edu/summer/morven.html.
Enjoy the photos of our working group in session!
The group works through the agenda

Probably discussing reusable to-go containers!

Our average meeting size, with some new faces this time.

Erica explains this year's World Water Day event.