By Alice Wong
The Sustainable Food Systems Team has just about halfway finished with the academic quarter and awesome things have happened thus far.
Last week, we had a successful tabling event at our Earth Day Fair booth on the intramural fields. With food resource trivia, a food survey and food challenges, we really wanted to interact with the students. The survey that we asked students to fill out should help us better assess and understand what influences students’ choice of food.
We will also be taking these activities and information from the Earth Day Fair to the Hill this Tuesday. We will also be returning to Covel Commons Dining Hall for a dinner waste audit this Tuesday evening. Though Earth Day was just a little more than a week ago, we wanted to see if there might have been a change in students' waste habit trends. We will also be having a tabling event outside of the dining hall on the Hill for our “No Food Left Behind” challenge. Initially when we did the audit at Covel, the auditing took place with no students’ prior knowledge. We would like to bring the information to students since it has always been our goal to make students aware of local and global ramifications of food waste.
We will ask students to challenge themselves to be cognisant about the food they purchase and consume for that dinner period and henceforth. As with any relevant issue, it may be difficult for some students to change their perspectives and habits, but we are very eager to see what our educational campaign will produce.
Our interactions are meant to inspire student leadership and initiatives for sustainable living on and off campus. With this being our second tabling event, initiating more dialogue, conducting more research behind-the-scenes, and enacting environmental change is vital to bringing together students, faculty, and administration for future food policy. The education on our campus about food waste, food options and food cycles can also lead to bigger talks about global hunger, water scarcity, and food inequity.
We expect to also do more tabling at the upcoming event, Ecochella, but to have face-time with students before they go in for dinner at Covel can have a bigger impact. Hopefully our findings can serve as a structural model for sustainably sound recommendations that our administrators can use to reform the dining hall system, our city, and beyond.
Our initial food audit at Covel found that students are wasting, on average, 3 ounces of solid foods per person, per meal and the most commonly wasted foods were white carbohydrate bases (e.g. rice, noodles, pasta, bread, etc.) Hopefully campus awareness will shift gears for student eating habits and improve mindfulness of portions.
Now it’s time for you to take the challenge. Participation in our “No Food Left Behind” challenge will give you an opportunity to win a full bag of fresh produce from our on campus Farmer’s Market. Come check out our research and take our apple challenge to see how to make an apple, core and all, disappear!