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
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.
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. Students are encouraged to get involved with the Deacon Dining Connection, a group dedicated to influencing and discussing dining decisions at Wake Forest.
New 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 email@example.com. If your department would like to jump to the front of the line and install a station in your area, contact Donnie Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Earth Day at the FFCo. – Farm to Fork Friday
When: Regular dining hours
Where: The Reynolda Fresh Food Company and the Magnolia Room
Enjoy locally-sourced food during lunch or dinner at the last Farm to Fork Friday of the semester. While you dine, take a minute to learn more about other sustainable initiatives in dining like the new composting program and the innovative, green cleaning methods used in campus dining locations.
Local foods to be featured in the Fresh Food Company and the Magnolia Room include:
- Sweet Potatoes – Ham Produce, Snow Hill, NC
- Strawberries – Cottle Farms, Faison, NC
- Salad bar items (wheat grass, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, tri-colored cauliflower, tri-colored carrots, tri-colored grape tomatoes) Sunny Creek Farms, Tryon, NC
- Apple Cider with sliced apples, Henderson Farms, Henderson County, NC
- Whole Baby Carrots – Bolthouse Farms, Suwanee, GA
- Beef for Tacos – Grayson Farms, Scottsville, VA
Q. Is organic waste from campus composted?
A. Yes and no. One hundred percent of campus yard waste, including lawn clippings and fallen tree limbs, is repurposed as mulch or organic soil amendments.
In the fall of 2011, Wake Forest Dining Services performed a waste audit to see just how much waste is generated on a standard day in the Fresh Food Company. The results of this audit informed an ongoing pre-consumer waste composting pilot in the Reynolda Fresh Food Company. The pilot was successful and helped ARAMARK management and employees minimize waste in food prep and see how it can be composted successfully. As of February 2012, all pre-consumer food waste from the Fresh Food Company is being picked up and taken to Gallins Family Farm for composting. In North Dining Hall, all pre-consumer and post-consumer waste is collected and taken to Gallins Family Farm for composting. Each program keeps hundreds of pounds of food waste out of the landfill every week.
Food waste from the theme houses on Polo Road and from the Campus Kitchen Fresh Market runs is composted at the campus garden (behind 1141 Polo Road).
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the composting program grows and evolves.
In its second year connecting new students to local sustainability initiatives, five new students participated in the Sustainability in Action Pre-Orientation program from August 22 to August 25. Participants visited sites in the community where sustainability is put into practice and connected with some of the key players in the local sustainability movement.
Wake Forest Fellow, Caitlin Brooks, and Office of Sustainability Intern, Carrie Stokes, served as mentors and facilitators for the 3-day program. During the program’s first full day, students explored sustainability in the Winston-Salem community. With Wake Forest alumnus and local food activist Marcus Hill serving as guide, participants toured the Werehouse — a converted warehouse that acts as a hub of local arts and culture — and the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market.
After lunch at The Screaming Rooster, a neighborhood restaurant offering fresh, local and seasonal dishes, students were introduced to the community partnership between Campus Kitchen and The Fresh Market. Finally, students ended the day at urban farm, Beta Verde, with the farm’s proprietor, slow food activist, Margaret Norfleet Neff and her daughter, Salem. Using the ingredients purchased earlier at the Cobblestone Market, students prepared a locally sourced meal in Neff’s home.
The second day of the program focused on sustainability on campus. Students worked in the Campus Garden weeding, planting and composting and were then rewarded for their hard work with an heirloom tomato tasting lead by biology professor Gloria Muday. After lunch at Shorty’s, Jim Alty, Associate Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services, led students on a campus facilities tour, highlighting the locations that support the university’s sustainability efforts. Later that evening, participants donned costumes crafted from thrift store materials and went roller skating at Skatehaven with other members of the class of 2015.
On the final day of the program, students learned about sustainable farm practices on tours of Yellow Wolf Farm, a cruelty-free, Animal Welfare Certified, protein farm, and Shore Farms, an all-organic family produce farm. Freshman Liz Stalfort even managed to befriend one of the animals. “After chasing one of Stacey’s pigs around for a while,” Stalfort recounted, “I finally figured out that the best way to befriend him was to be calm, so I was. The pig let me touch his snout twice and I was so happy.” By connecting directly with both the farmers and the animals on these farms, students gained a deepened understanding of sustainable food production.
Freshman Shoshanna Goldin called the program “phenomenal” and noted how her experience in the program has positively impacted how she sees her new community. “Throughout the program, we gained a really unique first-hand perspective of the city we plan to call home for the next four years,” Goldin said. “From meeting with the founders of local restaurants that are passionate about supporting local, sustainable farms to exploring local markets and organic farms, we took away a really valuable message – Winston-Salem has a significant number of people who care and who actively seek to engage others.”
By Jane Connors, Communications and Outreach Intern
Local Farm and Garden Tours
Where: Meet in the Benson Circle for transportation provided by Campus Kitchen.
Action: Take the two-mile challenge: try to walk, bike, carpool, or ride a campus shuttle for all trips within two miles of home.
Cobblestone Farmers Market (Formerly Krankie’s Farmers Market)*
Where: Meet the free shuttle in the library circle to go to the season opener of Cobblestone Farmers Market, located at the intersection of 3rd Street and Patterson Avenue downtown
The Cobblestone Farmers Market is an all-local, producers-only market that aims to bring fresh food, entertainment, and community connection into downtown Winston-Salem.
Vendors use healthy, sustainable, and humane practices. The Cobblestone Farmers Market is operated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (www.carolinafarmstewards.org). The market is held every Tuesday from April 19-November 29.
Where: in front of the Reynolda Fresh Food Company (the Pit)
Learn more about the importance of water conservation, the water conservation initiatives already in place at the university, and ways that you can make a difference in your home or residence hall.
Green Graduation Pledge
When: 12:00pm (following the Senior Meeting)
Where: Hearn Plaza
Following the mandatory meeting for seniors in Wait Chapel, graduating seniors may sign the “Green Graduation Pledge.” By signing, seniors pledge to take into account the social and environmental consequences of any future endeavors and to work to improve the sustainability of the communities in which they work, live and play after graduation.
The first 200 graduating seniors to sign will receive reusable travel mugs with the pledge written on them!
Earth Day with ZSR
Where: ZSR Library, Room 204
For this year’s Earth Day Celebration, a discussion panel made up of local farmers and food activists will talk about their involvement with local food action in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area. This panel discussion is co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, and is part of Wake Up to Food Week/13 Days of Celebrating the Earth.
Action: Conserve water: commit to taking 5-minute showers and/or turning off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving.
The university’s dining services provider, ARAMARK, has made numerous strides toward sustainability by reducing waste in the major campus dining facilities. In keeping with this commitment, campus dining began using a new cleaning method in the Reynolda Fresh Food Company that eliminates 99.9 percent of germs while cutting chemical usage by up to 65 percent.
Students, faculty and staff may have seen the space-age looking cleaning tools currently used by ARAMARK employees to clean tables in the Pit between uses. These glowing clean-machines, called “Ionators,” zap germs with a slight electric charge and lift dirt and bacteria from surfaces using ionized tap water. This means that no chemicals are needed to clean and disinfect tables in the Fresh Food Company.
Another new green-cleaning program employed by campus dining is the use of high efficiency floor cleaning machines from Tennant. The T3 Walk Behind Floor Scrubber is equipped with Foam-Activated Scrubbing Technology designed to reduce detergent usage by 90 percent and water usage by 70 percent, compared with traditional scrubbing methods.
By dramatically cutting chemical usage in dining facilities, employees are exposed to lower quantities of fewer chemicals, resulting in a healthier workplace. By using ionators instead of traditional cleaning chemicals on eating surfaces in the Fresh Food Company, diners also enjoy a safer eating environment.
Matt Lugo, director of marketing for ARAMARK at Wake Forest, heads up the company’s Green Thread Program at the university. This local offering of the national corporate sustainability program, “allows us to strategically align ourselves with the goals of our client and the university,” according to Lugo.
By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern