Wake Forest University

Dining and Food Systems Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Dining and Food Systems

Dining and Food Systems

Dining Services

Dining Services at Wake Forest has a number of sustainability initiatives underway. Visit their website to learn more.

Local Dining Options

For information on local dining options, farmers markets, and grocers, explore our Campus Green Guide. For updated information on local markets, check out the links on our resources page.

Campus Garden

Join the local food movement by volunteering in the Wake Forest Campus Garden.

Hunger and Food Insecurity

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University partners with Dining Services and local non-profits to reduce food waste  and fight food insecurity in the Winston-Salem community.

The Hunger Advisory Board is a sixteen chair leadership team with the mission to unite students, faculty, staff, and organizations that are committed to fighting hunger.

 

drink wine/ save the planet/ feed the hungry

March 4th, 2014

Contributed by Elizabeth Barron                 WFU ’93, Lecturer in French

In the interest of sounding a little less unbearably flippant, I did change the official title of this February 2014 WFU conference to “Viticulture and the Environment,” but in my head and heart it remained “drink wine/ save the planet/ feed the hungry.”

The drinking wine part was expertly handled by Olivier Magny, a Parisian wine specialist who started his own wine tasting school after graduating from a top business school. He led a group of faculty, students, and one alumnus in a wine-tasting, following a talk by Professor Wayne Silver on “The Neurobiology of Wine Tasting (and Smelling).” So we drank a little wine. That was the easy part.

Magny’s work seems to have started from a sense of pleasure, but his own study of wine also led him to an awareness of the conditions in which grapes are grown and more specifically, soil health. He writes in his book Into Wine, “Studying how vineyards were farmed has helped me grasp that the importance of the soil actually goes far beyond wine, and that the implications of mistreating it are also much more far-reaching than we think.” Farming practices have the biggest impact on soil health, and there is much that deserves to be questioned in our current agribusiness practices. These issues are addressed in a rather international light in the documentary “Dirt,” which a small group of us watched together and then discussed. The politics behind agribusiness practices are daunting at best. In the spirit of a hummingbird analogy put forth by this film, both WFU EH&S Technician Justin Sizemore and Dr. Anne Marie Zimeri had ideas for addressing our individual carbon footprints.

I like to think of the following ideas as “Dr. Zimeri’s Eco Challenge.” Anne Marie Zimeri is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Health Science Department at the University of Georgia. One of the courses that she teaches is a first year seminar in which she gives her students an assignment to collect and record data related to behavior changes they make to lower their environmental impact. She has the students select a pledge topic according to their own interest, related to one of the following areas: 1) Vegetarian / vegan 2) Transportation 3) Single use disposables 4) Composting / packaging 5) Water conservation 6) Electricity 7) Local / organic. For example, if students were electing to go vegetarian or vegan for a week, they would include before and after data relating both to how much meat they consume, and to the food miles, water use (in the production of meat vs. vegetables and fruits) and carbon footprint. More detailed information on this will be part of an upcoming publication by Dr. Zimeri. Like the hummingbird, we can only do what we can do in decreasing our impact, one rain barrel, solar water heater, backyard garden and bike ride at a time. So we learned a little about saving the planet.

It was the welcome presence of Shelley Sizemore, Assistant Director of Campus Life and Service that allowed me to add feeding the hungry to the list. Technically, we only fed our hungry selves that night, but I learned more about some ongoing campus and local efforts, including Campus Kitchen that distributes prepared but unserved food through local agencies including the Shalom Project, an outreach network started by Green Street United Methodist church that provides food, clothing, medical services and networking to the community. Wake Forest also has its own garden that both provides Campus Kitchen with fresh produce and also helps Wake Forest students (and I would add, faculty) better understand and influence the social, environmental, biological and political consequences of food production and consumption. So we could be part of feeding the hungry, if we’re not already.

I like the three-fold nature of my not-really-the-title-except-yes-it-is, because it reminds me of just how interconnected everything is. Even starting from the position of a possible urban sophisticate enjoying his or her own glass of wine can logically lead to soil health, then to the importance of environmental stewardship, then to food production and distribution. So, next time you swirl and sip, think about where the contents of your glass were originally grown.

Bottoms up.

For more musings on the theme “Drink Wine/Save the Planet,” visit Dr. Barron’s blog.

Comfortable Conservation

January 28th, 2014

North_Campus_Dining_Hall_14Spring semester is here: new classes, new students, and the highly anticipated opening of North Campus Dining Hall. The 21,000 square foot-facility was designed and constructed to LEED-silver standards. From equipment to furnishings, it showcases some unique – even one-of-a-kind – sustainable design features.

John Wise, Associate Vice President of Hospitality & Auxiliary Services at WFU, who helped oversee the project, emphasizes the value of creating a building that does more than just meet the functional needs of campus: “Beyond simply meeting the needs of a growing student population, it is important that we create an environment that showcases sustainable practices that students can adopt and learn about now, so that when they leave Wake Forest, they will bring an understanding of what’s possible with them.”

Energy and Water

Behind-the-scenes technical features create a relaxed campus hangout that is also energy efficient. The variable air volume heating and cooling system and exhaust hoods are expected to be at least 12 percent more efficient than a standard system. A leading-edge, real-time exhaust hood system will also reduce energy use in the kitchen. Fluorescent and LED lighting, combined with occupancy sensors in numerous spaces, lower the electricity load of the building as well. Dual flush toilets and low flow faucets, part of the campus standard adopted four years ago, reduce water usage in the facility.

On the South side of the dining hall, a unique solar photovoltaic “awning” covers an outside seating area. This, the third small-scale solar array on the WFU campus will provide up to 10 kilowatts (kW) of power during peak hours. Numerous wide-framed windows also allow natural light to fill the space, reducing electric lighting needs.

The facility’s real-time water and energy footprint can be viewed online or on screens in the building via WFU’s building dashboard system.

Waste

All of the dining hall’s pre-consumer and post-consumer waste (e.g. vegetable peels, food scraps, and biodegradable napkins) are fed into a state-of-the-art pulper. The industrial pulper macerates food waste, from banana peels to chicken bones. With water that is recycled through the system, the ground “meal” is transported out of the kitchen into bins that are collected regularly by Gallin’s Family Farm. “The pulper is the first big step towards the campus-wide goal of developing a comprehensive pre and post-consumer composting program,” says Megan Anderson, WFU Waste Reduction and Recycling Manager.

An electronically monitored, direct plumbed waste oil management system filters and pumps fryer oil to a sealed outdoor storage tank with the touch of a button. This feature reduces the possibility of oil spillage and contaminations, maintaining the quality of the oil so it can be efficiently repurposed into biodiesel.

Furnishings

Carefully chosen furnishings contribute to the comfort and sustainability of the space. The project team collaborated with local companies for the construction and sourcing of the majority of the furniture: Bistro ’34 lunch chairs and tables were created in Winston-Salem and High Point, cushioned banquettes were sourced from Newport, TN, Starbucks lounge furniture was built in Hickory, NC, and communal oak tables were cut and milled in Lincolnton, NC. The most local of all of the furnishings, however, are the four benches that line the atrium. The wood for the seats was milled in Durham and comes from oak trees that were removed from the project site; the frames were crafted in Winston-Salem.

Landscaping

To get to the dining hall from points south, visitors cross a unique pedestrian bridge. Although also visually pleasing, the bridge was required in order to preserve several of the heritage trees that surround the atrium of Farrell Hall. A traditional walkway would have resulted in significant root cutting and soil compaction, likely killing the trees.

David Davis, Associate Director of Landscaping Services and member of the WFU Tree Care Plan Committee, commented on the bridge: “I think this project makes a strong statement about the university’s commitment to preserving heritage trees.” The native, low-irrigation landscaping that surrounds the building also reflects a holistic approach to low-impact design and operation.

While all of these features translate into quantifiable energy and water efficiency, they also signify something greater: a comfortable space that supports the wellbeing of its occupants and the environment.

By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator

Are You a Champion?

October 30th, 2013

Have you or are you preparing to facilitate a change to a sustainable practice on campus? Have you implemented a new sustainability initiative in your area? If so, you might be a winner!

This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.

In March, we will accept nominations for awards that honor sustainability through:

  • resource conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction),
  • academics (teaching, research, engaged learning),
  • service and social action, and
  • bright ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented).

We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.

How Can We Afford It?

September 5th, 2013
Joel Salatin

Photo courtesy of Sarah Moran/Old Gold & Black

Joel Salatin, a self-described “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer” lived up to every aspect of his reputation in his lecture to the incoming class of 2017, during their fall orientation. The lecture, which was open to all members of the Wake Forest community, was the denouement in the summer academic project on food access and food justice.

Salatin is undoubtedly the most recognizable, and arguably one of the most successful, sustainable farmers in the United States today. His alternative farming practices have drawn him into contentious battles with government regulators and have contributed to his unique views on food justice.  He has captured the attention of food activists, environmentalists, libertarians, and government regulators, in equal measure, illustrating why he named his Virginia farm Polyface – the farm of many faces.

“We have become disconnected from our ecological umbilical,” he remarked. Most of us have little idea where our food comes from, how it is grown, and why either of those things matter. We have done our best to insulate ourselves from the consequences of those realities. Our society has divorced itself from food production. Farming is done by people we don’t know and in places we can’t see or smell, and for good reason: industrial food production is an unsightly and hazardous business. We make decisions about how to expend our monthly budgets based on a disconnection from the real cost of food or its importance in our lives. The question of how we can afford a sustainable food system must be turned around to ask how we can afford the system we have now – one that promotes health crises, ecological crises, and ultimately economic crises.

It is this disintegration that has allowed the industrial food system to flourish. With the bluster of a preacher on a pulpit, Salatin exclaimed, “Injustice thrives in secrecy and opaqueness, justice thrives in openness and accountability.” He suggests that transparency and accountability to consumers is the best form of regulation for safety, quality, and price; he proposes that regulation be modified to allow small farms equal market access.

According to Salatin, if we want to change our food system, if we want to see food access in our communities, we must re-integrate our food system. Food production must be localized and consumers must make the sometimes difficult choice to purchase locally and seasonally grown food. He challenged students to imagine the university covered with an edible landscape, to substitute meal-plan reliance with whole foods preparation, and to imagine adjusting the academic calendar to coincide with seasons of peak local food production.

Salatin reiterated again and again that our human cleverness – our desire to outrun nature– is getting us into trouble. He urges us to exercise more humility and less hubris. He suggests that personal responsibility is the starting point for change – that each of us must take up what Dr. Miles Silman, director of the WFU Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, described as the “hard and happy labor of change,” during his introduction to the lecture.

As a final take-away, Salatin emphasized the need to start somewhere and not be afraid of failure. He challenged the old saying that anything worth doing is worth doing right by suggesting that, “anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly first!”

By Jamie Sims, Campus Garden Intern

Summer Interns Serve Winston-Salem

June 24th, 2013
photo (31)

David Hale (’15) prepares to deliver to the SECU House

Summer isn’t necessarily a vacation for Wake Forest students.  From late May to early August, The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest, a student-run service organization, maintains full operations, serving 154 meals per week to underserved members of the Winston-Salem community.  Unlike during the spring and fall, when Campus Kitchen is run by a six-member executive board and a 24-member leadership team, during the summer three interns are at the helm of one of Wake Forest’s flagship service organizations.

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University is an affiliate of the Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger and reducing waste through food recycling programs on college campuses.  The Campus Kitchen model takes surplus prepared (but never served) meals from campus dining facilities and distributes these meals to partner agencies serving local communities.  In addition to this basic model, the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University partners with the Fresh Market, rescuing edible produce and baked goods and delivering  the food in bulk to agencies serving populations with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University also partners with the Campus Garden, incorporating fresh, campus-grown produce into balanced meals.

Brittany Forniotis (’15), David Hale (’15), John Iskander (’16), and Monica Hedge (’14) make up the summer 2013 team of Campus Kitchen interns.  Brittany, who is also spending her summer conducting original research on American slave narratives, splits five cooking shifts and five food delivery shifts with David, a premedical student who is also currently conducting summer research.  John serves as the Fresh Market intern, running five food rescue shifts per week and researching the feasibility of food trucks as a means of increasing access to nutritious food. Monica will replace Brittany as one of the cooking and delivery interns for the second half of the summer.

According to the Campus Kitchens Project’s national guidelines, all meals must include a protein, a vegetable, a starch, and a dessert.  Because there are fewer students on campus during the summer, the Fresh Food Company has less surplus food to donate to Campus Kitchen, so the interns must creatively combine resources to meet the organization’s standards.  Brittany, who plans many of the summer menus, relies heavily on produce grown in the WFU Campus Garden.  Most recently, she and summer volunteers prepared a huge salad with roasted beets, greens, and beet greens from the Campus Garden.

David, who served the salad at the SECU Family House, an agency providing housing for the families of patients who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatment, reports “Everyone is always really happy when I say we grew these beets in our Campus Garden…they were so impressed that it was full circle, that we are using what we have and being sustainable.”

Partner agencies rely on Campus Kitchen to stay open during the summer, but David explains that the summer also provides an opportunity to reach new volunteers.  He says “it is also important for us to educate volunteers, whether they are at a summer camp here, faculty and staff, or just anyone in the Winston-Salem area, to realize that [food insecurity] is an important issue in our region that many people don’t know about.” He also explains that bringing new volunteers into Campus Kitchen “is really about removing the stigma from certain areas [of Winston-Salem] or the stereotypes someone might associate with a particular type of person.”

In the context of cooking shifts, Brittany takes care to talk to volunteers about “where the food is going, what sort of people are receiving the food, and what sort of health problems they might have.”  She explains the intentional choices she makes based on the population being served, such as sending reduced dessert portions and low-salt meals to senior housing where many residents suffer from diabetes and hypertension.

In the context of delivery shifts, David explains the goal of a particular partner agency and how food from Campus Kitchen fits into that goal.  For instance, at Prodigals Community, a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility, David explains to volunteers how the Sunday night meal provided by Campus Kitchen allows Prodigals to allocate funds towards programs that facilitate residents’ recovery.

When asked what the Campus Kitchen needs from the Wake Forest community this summer, the interns offer a single emphatic answer: volunteers.  David says “We need people who are willing to be flexible, to try something new…to go out of their comfort zone, to get out of the Wake Forest bubble and realize that these places exist in Winston-Salem.”

To volunteer for Campus Kitchen, contact Brittany Forniotis at .

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability

Wellbeing Celebrated at Nutrition Fair

September 27th, 2012

On September 17, Wake Forest Dining hosted the fall 2012 Nutrition Fair. The fair has been a semi-annual event, some of them coinciding with campus Earth Day celebrations in the past two years. Learning more about the issues surrounding personal health and wellbeing can often provide individuals with a window of understanding into the wellbeing of the larger campus ecosystem. This concept, sometimes referred to as environmental wellbeing, is one of the pillars of the new campus-wide wellbeing initiative.

This semester’s event was held in front of the Fresh Food Co. and was very well-attended despite a light drizzle. The fair included several tented booths representing an array of local vendors and a diverse collection of groups on campus. There was plenty to sample.

Here’s a brief look at some of the interests represented:

  • Campus Nutritionist, Beth Audie, offered a “Wheel of Nutrition.” Participants could spin the wheel for a chance to win a variety of free and, of course, nutritious foods available for purchase on campus.
  • Reynolda Farm Market, a small, locally owned store-front market offered local produce, locally finished products, and preserved goods for sale.  They also offered samples of muscadines, giving several students their first introduction to these southeastern native grapes.
  • The Wake Forest Campus Garden brought samples of heirloom tomatoes and fresh salsa made on site.
  • Eco Reps, the campus peer-to-peer educators for sustainability, engaged faculty, staff, and students with a quiz about the impacts of our choices on regional food systems and the health and wellbeing of our community.
  • The campus representative for Fresh Point, ARAMARK’s primary produce distributor, educated attendees about the supply chain for campus dining. He offered samples of several popular recipes, including a delicious and nutritious quinoa dish.

 

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

Compost in Action

September 27th, 2012

In May 2011, agriculturalist-entrepreneurs Pete Gallins and cousin Rucker Sewell began an innovative program in Winston-Salem. The pair began collecting food waste from local businesses and restaurants to compost at the nearby Gallins Family Farm. In the fall of 2011, the university got on board by diverting the Pit’s pre-consumer food waste (food scraps that never leave the kitchen, like potato peels) from local landfills and redirecting them into the Gallins composting facility.

According to Megan Anderson, the manager of Waste Reduction, Recycling, & Surplus at the university, “We have reduced our waste pick-ups by one-third at the Reynolda trash compactor that services the Pit.” This reduction in pick-ups equates to economic savings by way of lowered waste-handling costs and reduced “tipping fees,” levied on trash processed at the landfill.

The reduction in landfill pick-ups has also lessened social and environmental costs associated with waste management. Ms. Anderson told us that rerouting the, “wet, heavy, smelly, messy food waste,” from the Reynolda trash compactor helped eliminate the all-too-familiar odor that attracted pests while repelling passersby.

The program also reduces landfill impacts, including the generation of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. Reduced hauls to the landfill also equate to fuel savings and reduced vehicle exhaust. Through the composting process, Gallins is able to accelerate the conversion of the food scraps to a valuable nutrient-rich soil amendment, the final product of the composting process.

The university’s nascent composting program came full circle this summer when we returned several bags of the compost, marketed as “Carolina Dynamite,” to our Wake Forest campus garden. The compost is produced with the area’s iron-rich soil in mind.

The current boundaries of the composting program are under evaluation for expansion by Ms. Anderson and the countless others involved with the project. She shared plans to begin, collecting from Starbucks and other dining venues on campus. “We would also like to eventually [incorporate] post-consumer food waste collection.” Although we hope that those who eat on campus take only what they intend to eat, there are bound to be scraps and peels that are not consumed. A post-consumer collection program would even allow us to compost paper napkins, creating possibilities for zero-landfill meals at the Fresh Food Company.

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

Campus Grounds Serves Locally Roasted Coffee

September 27th, 2012

Returning to campus this fall, students may have noticed the university isn’t quite how they left it last spring: new faces, new blooms, and of course, new construction. A bit less visible was Campus Grounds’ decision to switch to Krankies coffee.

Krankies, is a local coffee roaster/café/arts venue/small business incubator in downtown Winston-Salem. You may have seen a shiny Airstream trailer permanently parked alongside Reynolda Road—that’s Krankies’s satellite location. Aside from their unconventional venues, what sets them (and their coffee)apart from competitors is the fact that they roast their own beans daily with the help of their own, “vintage gas-fired drum roaster.”

The result is a “sweet yet savory, nuanced yet purposeful blend,” or at least that’s what one Campus Grounds coffee drinker told me. Krankies describes the blend that Campus Grounds serves by saying, “the Boiler [blend] is a light to medium roasted coffee blend hailing from Central America. The sweet, nutty candy-like notes complement the bright, classic flavors of this blend.” It makes more sense once you’ve tried it.

The decision to switch to Krankies has not only pleased the coffee connoisseurs on campus but also those who care about sustainability. By switching to a bean that’s finished by a small roaster across town instead of say, by a large roaster across the country, shops can reduce the carbon footprint of the coffee and support the local economy. This is no coincidence. Student Manager Melody Petulla told us that Campus Grounds has long sought to minimize their impact on the environment. In keeping with this principle, Melody makes sure their varieties of tea are fair trade as well as organic. I also learned that the blue Campus Grounds mug I purchased last year is not only reusable but compostable.

According to Melody, the decision to switch to locally roasted coffee had to make sense not only environmentally, but economically. “I’m a business major,” she explained. Not only are the beans finished locally, which supports the local economy, but they are also more economical, which enhances the bottom line of this student-run campus enterprise. Campus Grounds is, in a sense, ultra-local. The coffee shop is entirely run and staffed by Wake Forest students and, of course, is located on campus grounds. Melody also plans to add some pieces of ultra-local art from the Wake Forest Studio Art Department. According to Melody, Campus Grounds strives to be as local as possible.

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

FAQ: Sustainable Dining Options

August 7th, 2012

Q: Over the summer I read a few books that got me thinking about where my food comes from. I’ve adjusted my habits at home and I would like to continue eating responsibly when I get back to Wake. Where can I find information on restaurants that serve locally sourced food and other sustainable dining options?

A: Winston-Salem is a great city for those seeking to eat responsibly. If you are interested in eating out, our Green Guide has a listing of local green dining options, ranging all the way from cafes to fine dining.  If you like to do your own cooking, check out an updated listing of famers markets on Slow Food Piedmont Triad’s web page.  You could also consider buying a CSA membership. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and buying a membership is like owning a small piece of a farm over the course of one growing season. Every week you will receive a box of goods from the farmer, according to the size of your share.  Some CSAs have different sized packages to meet different needs and you can also split a single membership between a few friends. Sign-ups happen in the winter, before the growing season, so that farmers know how much to plant.  Three local CSAs to consider are Harmony Ridge, Shore Farm Organics, and Goat Lady Dairy.  Also look out for sustainable dining initiatives on campus, like the Fresh Food Company’s monthly Farm-to-Fork Friday and the Nutrition Fair hosted by the campus nutritionist each semester.

Three new hydration stations join our fleet

August 6th, 2012

New hydration stationsNew hydration stations will greet students returning to Reynolda campus. Facilities and Campus Services installed three new stations in high traffic areas: outside the Fresh Food Company, on the ground floor of Benson near Pugh Auditorium, and in the atrium of the Z. Smith Reynolds library.  Hydration stations provide chilled, filtered water and are designed to encourage the use of refillable water bottles.  A built-in sensor starts the flow of water when a thirsty Deacon places a refillable bottle under the tap, and stops the flow when the bottle is removed.  Each unit keeps a running count of how many disposable water bottles we have avoided by choosing to refill.

The success of the first three hydration stations installed last year, outside the Office of Sustainability on the first floor of Reynolda Hall, in Winston Hall, and in the Worrell Professional Center, has demonstrated the demand for hydration stations across campus.  This July the original station outside of the Office of Sustainability broke the 20,000 mark for the number of disposable water bottles avoided.  Plastic water bottle disposal is an increasing environmental hazard, adding 2 million tons of waste to landfills in the US each year, according to National Geographic. And disposal is not the only problem; plastic water bottles require an incredible amount of energy to produce and transport (if you filled a plastic water bottle up with all the oil required for its production, that water bottle would be about a quarter of the way full).  By installing six hydration stations and using refillable water bottles to stay hydrated, our campus community is participating in an important global transition away from disposable water bottles.

As older water fountains fail, Facilities and Campus Services will replace them with new hydration stations.  Departments can also co-sponsor the installation of a hydration station near their offices.  The Office of Budget and Financial Planning sponsored the installation of the new hydration station outside the Fresh Food Company.  For information on how to co-sponsor a hydration station, contact Tiffany White . If your department would like to jump to the front of the line and install a station in your area, contact Donnie Adams at . Also look out for The Office of Sustainability’s reusable water bottle give away at Think Green Thursdays.  For dates and times, check our office calendar.

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow