Monday, October 27, 2014

Food Frenzy this week!

It's that time of the year! Ithaca Dining Services will once again transform Emerson Suites into a foodies dream for our annual Food Frenzy event!

To continue with our Hunger Awareness Month and No Kid Hungry themes, this Food Frenzy event will benefit the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Backpack Program. The entry fee is 3 dollars, and this will give you admission into the event. Inside, there will be lots of food vendors giving out samples of their products. Some of the vendors include:
- Starbucks
- Stonyfields
- Synder Pretzels
- Priates Booty
- Bosco's Pizza
- Finger Lakes Fresh
- General Mills
- Joey's Jerky

As well as samplings from Sodexo's dining halls, catering and retail locations. Some of the specific food samplings include:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter whoopie pie
- Chicken Machaca Taco (with local tortillas and cilantro)
- Samosas with Spicy Peanut soup
- Organic Red Quinoa with local Butternut Squash

Although Food Frenzy may not have a blatantly obvious connect with Meatless Monday, there is something to be said about feeding our hungry people and restructuring our food system. Food Frenzy supports the Backpack Program, which for only 3 dollars can fill a backpack full of food that will prevent students in our country from being hungry over weekends and holidays. This all ties into Meatless Monday and WasteLESS Week. Here are some food waste and hunger facts for the United States:
  • According to figures provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, roughly 70 billion pounds of food is lost in the United States each year. 
  • It is estimated that 25 – 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the US will never be consumed. 
  • 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger, that’s nearly 49 million people

If food could be diverted and used to feed the hungry, rather than being thrown in the landfill or compost, we would be able to feed so many more people. This action takes a lot of planning, sacrifice and commitment. We have to change our behavior so that we only take what we can eat, and we finish all of that food. Large buffet style dining will have to be restricted so that consumers only take what is necessary rather than stuffing themselves beyond full. Convenience will have to be replaced by planning, and diets will have to shift in order to end the constant stream of mindlessly eating and wasting.

I believe that Meatless Monday is a step in the right direction for restructuring diets, thought processes around eating, our agriculture system, and our overall relationship with food. In the United States especially, our lifestyles and eating habits must shift in order to stop hunger. Feeding America gives a lot of great information about hunger, including the stats that you read above. If you are interested in learning more, visit:

This week, your first step against hunger can be to attend our Food Frenzy event to benefit the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Backpack Program. After that, work on wasting less in the dining hall (see below blog posts) and participating in Meatless Monday so that less resources are being used to produce our food and in turn more food can be produced.

Happy Meatless Monday - and I hope to see you at Food Frenzy!
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Weigh the Waste Results

After a week of weighing the waste in dining halls around campus, here are our results:

Towers Thursday, October 23rd from 5-7pm:  82.5 lbs
Terraces Wednesday, October 22nd from 5-7pm:  223.5 lbs
Campus Center Tuesday October 21st from 5-7pm: 128 lbs

These numbers are just from a two hour dinner period. Combining all the waste from every other meal served at the dining halls equals a ton of food wasted.

We all need to work together to decrease these numbers. We ask students to please be conscientious of how much food they are putting on their plate and how many napkins they use. Inside the dining hall, we are working with LeanPath to decrease pre-consumer waste. Please read our below blog post for a more in depth description of this!

Any suggestions of how to reach our goal of less waste are always appreciated! We hope these events can encourage students to be more mindful of the food that is wasted in the dining hall.

Thank you to everyone who helped out with this event!
- Jackie

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weigh the Waste

Hello IC Students!

If you read our last blog, you know that we have kicked off WasteLESS Week here at IC Dining. This is a Sodexo run program to increase awareness about waste, and to make efforts to reduce it. Our dining halls are continually improving our waste reduction, and we are always open to help and suggestions. Fortunately, we do compost all pre and post consumer waste. This means that our food waste is diverted from the landfill, and instead it is broken down into compost that can be used on top of gardens and soil.

In addition, we have recently implemented LeanPath. LeanPath is the food service industry's first fully automated food waste tracking system. The system helps our Sodexo employees analyze exactly where our pre and post consumer waste comes from, so that they can change their production process to eliminate that waste. The way that LeanPath works is that whenever a dining hall employee goes to compost something, they first must weigh it and log it into LeanPath. LeanPath will take the weight of that food, and the employee will input what category of waste that food is. The categories consist of trimmings, over production, expired, etc. Then we are able to see where most of our waste is coming from. If we are overproducing, then we can cut back on how much food we produce. Or if we have a lot of trim waste, we can retrain staff on trimming practices so that they are more efficient.

Lastly, we ask for students help in reducing waste. We encourage all of our students to waste less in the dining hall by pre-plating meals based on portion sizes, providing napkins dispensers that dispense one napkin at a time, eliminating trays, and encouraging students to only take as much as they can eat. For WasteLESS Week, we like to bring more attention to the amount of food wasted in the dining hall through Weigh the Waste events. You may have seen us in the dining hall doing this already. We are located in front of the dish return, and we ask students to dump out any liquid, napkin, or food waste into a 5 gallon bucket that we then weigh once it gets full. This serves as a good visual for students to understand how much food is wasted in the dining hall.

Granted, we understand that there are complications that come with food waste. Rinds and bones are not edible, or sometimes you may really not like something. These things happen and are understandable. However, we ask students to be mindful of how much food they put on their plate, and if they will be able to finish it all. If you are not sure if you like something, try it first. If you don't know how much you will want, take a little and go back for more if you are still hungry. All of these practices can go a long way in terms of saving food. Last night in Campus Center dining hall from 5-7pm, students threw out 127 pounds of food waste. Let's work together to bring this number down.

Keep any eye out for us in the dining hall, and remember to be mindful of what you put on your plate!
Happy WasteLESS Week,

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