From-Scratch Cooking and Sustainability
While many people in the world go hungry, Americans continue to throw away large quantities of food each day. Research indicates the population under the age of 35 is the most likely to be wasteful (USDA Food Review, Estimating and Addressing America's Food Losses, Volume 20, Issue 1, 1997). It continues to be a challenge for the world to find enough space to properly dispose of large quantities of waste.
Dining Services is working to reduce the amount of waste in our operations that ultimately ends up in the waste stream. Our goal is to continue to become as environmentally conscious and “green” as resources will allow.
Some methods of waste reduction currently practiced in the dining centers are:
- From-Scratch Cooking: Utilizing fresh ingredients to prepare homemade dishes allows for a hands-on approach to food production. This allows for better forecasting based on customer counts, reduced waste at the vegetable preparation step, leftover reduction and utilization, and overall flexibility with the menu and our products.
- Local Products: We partner with the Department of Animal Science on campus to purchase much of our dairy and beef products. This collaboration allows for customized products to be prepared as closes to the day of service as possible. We also utilize other products from across the state of Kansas.
- Leftover Utilization: While we strive to prepare as close to the exact amount of each menu item that we need, nobody is perfect and occasionally there will be leftovers. Some items can be run in their same form and are very much appreciated when seen a second time by our students, e.g., mac and cheese) while others are reformatted into another dish. In the rare occasion that we cannot utilize leftover food items, we do work with the Flint Hills Breadbasket to make certain the food is enjoyed by others.
- Composting: All production waste — such as vegetable peelings and egg shells — is collected, and food that remains on student plates is gathered in the dishroom. This food waste is sent to the campus composting facility for use on campus. Check out our video.