What’s New with Dining Sustainability this semester?

Follow us on Facebook: Sustainable Dining at Virginia Tech
As well as on Instagram and Twitter: @VtGreenDining

Sustainability in What you Eat:

  • Dining Services spent 12.9 % of its food and beverage budget on local food last academic year.  This is an increase from 10.8% in 2012-13.
  • Our Farm Manager, Alex Hessler, is teaching a course this Fall on Small Scale Sustainable Farm Management.  He already has 13 students enrolled.  Consider adding the class to your schedule (Hort 4984)!
  • The Hokie Hi Welcome Picnic will be serving local watermelon from the Dining Services Farm, all 1600 lbs of it!

Sustainability in What you Use:

Reusables:

  •  This year, Dining Services has a new Reusable Water Bottle for sale in most of our units.  The water bottle can used for water and customers can get a discount on soda when presented at the register in participating units (see full list here).
New Reusable Water bottles available for purchase this Fall.

New Reusable Water bottles available for purchase this Fall.

  • Pay $3 cash or $6 flex for use of a Reusable To-Go Container when ordering food.  When finished with the container,  return the container to the Ozzi machine located next to the kiosk in WEM, and receive a token.  This token can then be handed to the cashiers at WEM for the next time they would like to order in a Reusable To-Go container.

    The new Ozzi machine located in West End Market.

    The new Ozzi machine located in West End Market.

Compostables:

  • All Coke cups are now compostable.  Make sure you throw it in the right bin (the compost bin) when you leave! If you set it on the dish return, our staff will take care of it.
  • The Hokie Hi Picnic this year will be Zero Waste which means that all to-go ware will be either compostable or recyclable.  This event is designated to be a Virginia Green Event  and will reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill drastically.
  • Stay tuned for news on potentially transitioning away from foam to-go containers sometime this coming academic year!

DS58_FrontofhouseposterHokieHiPicnicPoster

Sustainability in Where it Goes:

  • Since 2009, VT Dining Services has diverted more than 2100 tons of waste from the landfill through our composting program.  Eventually, some of the finished compost goes back to the farm  to be used to enrich our soil and close the loop.

Think_Eat_Be_Sustainable

 

August 21, 2014 at 11:00 am 3 comments

Summertime and the livin is easy.

Well, the craziness of the last few weeks of the semester and graduation have come and gone and it is officially SUMMER in Blacksburg!  Woohoo!

Even though all our students are gone, summer is probably one of the busiest times of the year for Sustainable Dining at VT.  The farm is kicking it into high gear and there are plenty of projects to get ready for August.  Soon enough, we’ll be moving the incoming freshmen into dorms, picking apples, and cheering onVT Football.

What are YOU doing this summer? Keep in touch!

Honeysuckle blooming at Kentland Farm #HokieGrown #HokieSummer

Honeysuckle blooming at Kentland Farm #HokieGrown #HokieSummer

Visit us @VTGreenDining on Twitter & Instagram!

Whether it is a picture of your farm or garden, a shameless food pic from your garden’s bounty or just some of your summer adventures, send it our way! @vtgreendining #hokiegrown

So what have we been up to so far this summer?

Take a look at what we’ve been working on in the last few weeks:  The building of our new Hoop House!  Hoop Houses are structures that are used to extend the season.  The house provides just enough cover that it keeps the ground and air warm enough to continue growing into the winter.  We’re starting out planting tomatoes and basil in the Hoop House this summer.  In the winter, we’ll use the Hoop House to grow salad greens for the Dining Units!

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Want to help out?

While we’re talking about the farm, there have been a few requests for volunteer hours at the farm.  We currently do not have any scheduled volunteer hours, however, you’re welcome to join our crew during the week.  The crew works Monday – Friday from 7 AM – 3:30.  Email sustainabledining@vt.edu or message us on facebook to let us know when you’d like to come down.  Please get in touch with us before coming down so that we can be ready for you!

The Sustainable Food Corps at VT also is working on a farm this summer and could use some help.  They meet on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM and Sundays at 10 AM at their farm behind Smithfield Plantation.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the summer!

 

June 2, 2014 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

Reusable To-Go Container Turn In

Attention all Reusable To-Go Container Users:

RTG Container Turn In: All 3 containers and your key ring with key tags need to be returned by Reading Day (Thursday 5/8).   The key ring with tags should be returned to the kiosk while the containers can continue to be turned in at the conveyor belt.

We will be giving out a prize to the participant that has logged the highest Reusable To-Go Container usage by 5/8/14.  Stay Tuned!

Thanks so much for your participation in the Reusable To-Go Container program this year.  We look forward to offering this program again next year, hopefully with a few improvements. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to email sustainabledining@vt.edu.

Good luck with Finals and have a wonderful summer!

 

ID1357 Reusable To Go Containers_logo_correctcolor

May 7, 2014 at 6:01 am 1 comment

Why Do You Choose Local?

Last week, in honor of Earth Week, a group of photos were posted on Virginia Tech Dining Services’ facebook page that raised the question, “Why do you choose local food?”

Anna Isserow, a student in the Civic Agriculture & Food Systems minor has partnered with Dining Services for the past two years to work on a final capstone project that supports Dining Services’ Sustainability efforts.

The result was this “Why Do You Choose Local” campaign.  These pictures (and a few drawings) now inform what campus thinks about eating and supporting local food options on campus!  Take a look!

 

 

April 28, 2014 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

Earth Week 2014 is Here!

Celebrate Virginia Tech Earth Week!

4/21 -4/25

All of this week, check back with the blog as we post upcoming events for Earth Week.  A few highlights for Earth Week and Sustainable Dining include a workday at Kentland Farm on Wednesday 4/23 and the Reusable To-Go Container Lunch Mob on Thursday 4/24!

For Full Schedule:www.vtearthweek.com

Remember to share photos with @vtgreendining, @vtsustainable @theecvt,  and use #vtearthweek

Friday April 25: Social & Environmental Justice

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Panel, 341 Squires, 2-4PM

Dr. Mike Ellerbrock will be setting up a mock panel to demonstrate how NEJAC would work through a case study.

Relay for Life, 5PM

Come to our table to learn how fossil fuels can lead to cancer.

 

 

 

EW_14Banner Credit: The Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech

 

April 21, 2014 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

Spring is on its way!

Can you feel it?  Spring is finally coming!!!  Let’s collectively cross our fingers and toes to make sure that it is indeed so.

Looking forward to days like this...

Looking forward to days like this…

 

Now that we’ve gotten a few glimpses of spring, workdays at the Dining Services Garden at Kentland are starting back up!  Beginning this weekend and continuing through May, we’ll have Sunday workdays from 2 – 4 PMVT Engage is coordinating a weekly work group.  If you’re interested in making the weekly commitment, please contact them at vtekentland@gmail.com (their group size is limited).  Otherwise, feel free to create your own carpool and bring a few friends down to the Farm!  As always, check out our Facebook Page for most up to date details.  Oh and while you’re out at the Farm, take pictures and share on FB, Twitter, and/or instagram!

Dress for the weather (layer!), bring a water bottle, sunscreen, hat, and sturdy shoes!

A few projects that you can look forward to helping with this Spring:

  • Asparagus Planting (and harvest!)
  • Potato Planting
  • Onion Planting
  • General Maintenance

Also Stay Tuned for Earth Week events coming up the week of 4/21 – 25!

 

Volunteers_3_23

 

March 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

Recyclemania 2014

recyclemania-tounament-2014

We’ve just entered the second week of Recyclemania and the  competition is fierce!  Virginia Tech is competing in a National Recycling competition called Recyclemania. Recyclemania is an 8 week competition promoting recycling.  The 8 weeks are divided into 3 phases with goals and prizes for each phase (Details below).  At the end of week 1, Virginia Tech was in the lead for the number of “I Recycle” pledges signed, so let’s keep it up!

Find the pledge here: http://americarecyclesday.org/take-the-pledge.

rmania

Sign the “I Recycle” Pledge. http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/ Just like these Hokies already have!

Overall, the goal of Recyclemania is to increase our Recycling rates, this includes plastics, aluminum, glass, paper & cardboard recycling AND all compost.

Looking ahead.  Here’s the Recyclemania Schedule:

  1. 2/2 – 2/15:  Sign the I Recycle Pledge.  The school with the most pledges signed with receive a bench for campus made out of Recycled Plastic.  All that sign the pledge will be entered to win a prize from the Office of Energy & Sustainability.
  2. 2-16-3/1: Get Caught Green Handed.  During these two weeks, Office of Energy & Sustainability interns will be roaming campus with stickers.  If you are spotted doing something green, you’ll get a sticker.  Submit photos of you and/or your friends doing something green.  Whether it’s using a reusable water bottle, recycling, using a reusable to-go container, …  Tag #VTGreenhanded and submit them to @VTSustainable on instagram or twitter.
  3. 3/2-3/29: Sustainability Olympics:  Students are encourage to create a team for the Sustainability Olympics.  More details to come.
Sit&Sort

Visit Sit & Sort and learn about “What goes Where.” Put your recycling and compostables in the right bin!

February 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

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