Our Sustainability Commitment
Berea College Dining is committed to being an integral partner in the environmental mission of Berea College. As a department, we constantly evaluate our practices in order to reduce our impact on the environment. We are proud of our initiatives that encourage guests and staff to reduce, reuse and recycle, and help educate customers about the benefits of buying local and sustainably-produced food.
Some of the areas that demonstrate our best practices:
- Sourcing locally grown and processed meats, produce, dairy, eggs, flour, honey, oats, beans, jams, cornmeal, and more, and incorporating local products into seasonal menus. Food is sourced from the Berea College Farm and Gardens and other local farms. Local food is defined as food grown or produced within 150 miles of campus, or within the state of Kentucky, with first preference our own college farm.
- Encourage waste reduction through educational activities designed to raise awareness about the social and environmental implications of food waste. Learn more at www.wastedfood.com
- Our kitchen uses the LeanPath ValuWaste food waste tracking system to minimize pre-consumer food waste. Since implementing the program in March 2012, pre-consumer food waste has been reduced by 33%, or 3000 lbs/ month! Leanpath Berea Case Study
- Local food events highlighting local farms and sustainable agriculture
- Participate in the Meatless Mondays campaign, and offer vegan, vegetarian and other healthy options daily.
- Collecting all Mountaineer Dining Hall pre-and post consumer food waste daily for composting at the college farm. The Crossroads Cafe collects pre-consumer food waste for composting.
- Increasing the use of durable dishware; using compostable disposable products when necessary for large outdoor events
- Recycling cardboard, paper, glass, metal, plastics and cooking oil
- Offer a reusable mug program, with discounts for refills
- Trayless Dining – conserves water and energy - reduces chemical use and food waste
- Purchasing bulk products whenever possible to reduce waste
- To reduce plastic and promote the use of refillable containers, the Crossroads Cafe has eliminated sales of bottled water.
- Promoting and practicing energy and water conservation.
Berea College Farm to Table: Proudly Serving Locally- Sourced Food
Berea Dining Services continues to strengthen our efforts to purchase locally grown products. BC Dining works closely with our vendors and directly with the college farm and area farmers to source local produce, meat, grains and more. We are a Kentucky Proud member restaurant, a buy-local initiative of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Look for the Kentucky Proud logo, item identifiers, and our "What's Local this Week" board in the Mountaineer dining hall. View a map of the Kentucky Proud farms and businesses that supply BC Dining.
Meet Our Farmers
- Lazy Eight Stock Farm
- Local and Lovin' It: David Tipton's 12 Mile Taters
- Local and Lovin' It: Poultry
- Local and Lovin' It: Eggs
- Pike Valley Farm
Why Buy Local?
- Local products spend less time in transit and thus arrive fresher.
- Supports local farms, the local economy, and the community.
- Shrinking our carbon footprint - the need for long-distance hauling is diminished, and substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions from trucking.
- When we buy from the college farm, we're supporting our own labor program, and agriculture students are learning about growing products for the institutional market.
- Produce from the Berea College Garden is certfied organic, meaning grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers
- Meat produced at the Berea College Farm is raised on pasture, without antibiotics or hormones, and is Animal Welfare Approved.
- We can offer varieties of vegetables that are grown for flavor and character rather than for interstate durability.
- Local eating connects students to the environment by respecting seasonality and our unique growing region.
Berea College Dining received high marks for food and recycling practices on the Sustainable Endowments Institute's 2011 College Sustainability Report Card.
Read more about the evolving relationship between BC Dining and the Berea College Farm: SAEA_poster_2011
Learn more about our partners: Marksbury Farm Market in Garrard County where our sustainably-raised meats are processed.
How You Can Help
- Taste, don't waste! Take only what you think you will eat. You can always go back for seconds.
- Get to know and support a local farmer! Shop at the Berea Farmers' Market
- Avoid disposables! Bring a reusable mug to the Cafe or Mountaineer.. Not only do you help the environment, but also you get a 10% discount at the Cafe when you use a refillable mug.
- Consider cutting meat from your diet at least one day per week.
- Buy from local businesses. For example, Peacecraft on the Square exclusively sells Fair Trade goods, which ensures the artisan/producers earn a fair and equitable income for their work.
- Recycle aluminum cans and bottles throughout campus at designated recycling containers.
- Leave durable dishes in the dining hall, so they will be available for your use and don't end up in the trash
- Get involved with student sponsored campus environmental groups, such as HEAL
What happens to food waste from the dining hall?
BC Dining collects all food waste in the Mountaineer and Crossroads Cafe, including kitchen waste, plate waste, and at catered events. Waste is picked up by students who work at the college farm, where all waste is composted and eventually becomes potting medium for plants that will produce food for campus dining and the community, completing the cycle. Last year, nearly 75 tons of organic waste was collected for composting, and Berea College placed 9th nationally for total organic waste collected during Recyclemania 2011.
What else does Dining Services do to reduce their impact on the environment?
- We use an electric vehicle on campus to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
- In the dining halls we use durable dishware and beverage tumblers
- As a result of composting, we have reduced the use of our kitchen garbage disposals by 98%. Kitchen staff weigh and record pre-and post consumer waste in order to measure reduction.
- We use a complete line of ware washing products that use a non-caustic formula and reduce water and energy consumption.
- BC Catering offers biodegradable/compostable dishware and bulk water stations for outdoor events to minimize waste.
- Installed low-flow aerators on kitchen sinks and sprayers
If you have any questions or suggestions about our sustainability efforts, please contact Sustainability Manager Cait McClanahan – email@example.com.