Much of 21st century agriculture occurs in fields far removed from the urban areas they feed. The visualization of food itself has, in large part, been transplanted from the farm and juxtaposed upon billboards, airbrushed into our magazines, pixilated and digitized into our televisions and computer screens and packaged into boxes and already made food items like the infamous Twinkie. Not everyone has the time to visit the farm where their food comes from or delve into the mysterious origins of their favorite dish.
Luckily for those with a meal plan this quarter, the dining commons will be highlighting both where their food comes from and their recent strides in sustainable dining. The event will provide important information about sustainability and locally harvested fruits, vegetables and fish that are currently used in the dining commons. Hungry patrons will have an opportunity to learn about where their salad and fruit came from, as well as the names and origin of the fish in their sushi.
Students will also be able to learn about other sustainability measures in the dining commons. Information regarding the new DLG Composting program and the steps involved in turning all food waste into rich, nourishing soil will be displayed. The process of transforming used kitchen oil into biofuel and the implementation of less damaging green kitchen chemicals will also be presented.
Interactive events will include students from the Environmental Affairs Board and Foodstuffs who will be providing information, trivia and prizes throughout the dinner hours. Additionally, students can learn more about their impact on the planet and identify ways to reduce it by calculating their carbon footprint using calculators from ecofootprint.org. Diners will also have the opportunity to embrace trayless dining throughout the day. Dining Services estimates that twelve trays takes approximately one gallon of water to wash while also consuming electricity and dumping detergents into the environment. Going trayless is just one of the many little ways we can configure our dining habits in a more eco-minded way.
Challenge yourself this Earth Day to give more consideration and thought to the food that you eat. Food consumption and processing has a huge impact on the environment through the extensive use of water and the introduction of pesticides, artificial fertilizers and carbon emissions.
While we all value many things, including personal health, security and appearance, why do so many overlook the value of their daily sustenance and its effect upon the planet? Maybe, instead of counting calories and looking for the words “fat free,” we should be looking into the origin and sustainability of the food before we eat it. This Earth Day we need to reflect, and possibly rearrange, our values. Don’t be afraid to be a food detective, because after all, it is ending up in your mouth.