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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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 email@example.com.
Good luck with Finals and have a wonderful summer!
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!
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
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.
Can you feel it? Spring is finally coming!!! Let’s collectively cross our fingers and toes to make sure that it is indeed so.
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 PM. VT Engage is coordinating a weekly work group. If you’re interested in making the weekly commitment, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org (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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 2-16-3/1: 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.
- 3/2-3/29: Sustainability Olympics: Students are encourage to create a team for the Sustainability Olympics. More details to come.
Welcome Back Hokies!
We hope you were able to spend some quality time with friends and family and that you’re back in Blacksburg ready for another wonderful semester in Hokieland!
Virginia Tech Dining Services is welcoming our new Sustainable Food Systems Production Director, Alex Hessler. Alex just finished his masters degree at the University of Kentucky and started at Virginia Tech earlier this month. This position is funded jointly by the Department of Horticulture and by Dining Services so you’ll see him at the farm and in the classroom. Heck, he might even be your teacher! Alex will be picking up the Organic Vegetable Production class taught within the Horticulture Department. Are you signed up?
Get to know Alex with these fun facts and keep an eye out for opportunities to work with him down at the farm later on this semester.
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
School (Undergrad & Grad): University of Montana (B.S. Resource Conservation). University of Kentucky (M.S. Integrated Plant and Soil Science)
Hobbies: Gardening, Canoeing, hiking, primitive survival skills, reading Kurt Vonnegut, drinking good local beer.
Favorite Vegetable: Sweet corn: sturdy, utilitarian, minimal fuss, great eaten raw in the field as a mid-morning snack!
What are you most excited about this Season: I am looking forward to working alongside the dining staff who have been running the farm for the last three years. I am also eager to create opportunities for students to work and learn on the farm, and help continue growing veggies through the fall, winter, and spring.
Other Fun Fact? I think the Dining Service Garden and Urban Horticulture Center have the potential to become a nationally recognized college farm program. I envision a program that trains new farm managers and food systems activists, conducts cutting edge research on sustainable and organic farming practices, and builds community around food and farming, in addition to growing food for the college’s dining centers. We have a ton of work to do, and we need the contribution of all sorts of skills and perspectives, from farmers, mechanics, and carpenters, to ecologists, sociologists, and dietitians. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to participate in the coming months, and hopefully you can become a part of this innovative project!
Have questions for Alex? Get in touch with him at hessler [at]vt.edu.