Yale’s efforts to educate students on food sustainability have taken a multi-pronged approach this year.
Framing sustainability as “local, eco-sensitive, humane, fair,” Yale Dining has implemented various green initiatives over the past few years, from getting rid of food trays to recycling uneaten food and replacing large serving utensils with smaller ones. The temporary closing of Commons — which, because the number of diners it sees each day fluctuates, has a tendency to compensate by preparing extra food — has also reduced food waste, according to Pamela Torola ’18, who is involved in the Yale Roosevelt Institute Center for Energy and the Environment and the Sustainability Service Corps.
Yale Dining is also continuing its farm tours, a fall tradition in which students visit the Yale Farm and spend a few hours working on it.
“It wasn’t the most sought out activity. People do not know how fun it was to pick spicy mustard green with friends,” Noah Shapiro ’21 said. “There was work for everyone who came and I got to get to know other students interested in sustainability at Yale.”
Chase Sobelman, head chef for Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges’ dining halls, dismissed the common misconception that Yale Dining sources ingredients from Yale Farm. The farm, located at 35 Edwards St., is run by students and hosts tours throughout the harvest season. Torola described the tours as an “educational community experience.”
Yale Dining’s food originates from two major vendors, according to Sobelman: US Foods and Fresh Point, a local produce farm.
“Staff knows where the food is coming from, and if not, there are labels to inform,” she said.
While Yale Dining brands locality as a central pillar of sustainability, Torola said it is important to also consider the amount of carbon released when transporting local food towards its destinations, which she said accounts for about 10 percent of the food’s carbon footprint.
While all leftover food at dining halls was previously composted, the untouched portion will be distributed to local shelters once a week starting Wednesday, Chase said.
Lauren Cueto | firstname.lastname@example.org