Virginia Tech herb garden thrives

Oct. 8—An herb garden planted by Dining Services at 29,000-student Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is now supplying herbs to a shop in one of the university’s food courts.

The garden supplies herbs such as chives, basil, oregano and thyme that are used in the recipes for the Farms and Fields Project shop, a dining venue that serves locally sourced, organic and sustainably grown food for lunch and dinner.

The garden is located at Kentland Farm, a 400-acre farm in McCoy, which provides assistance for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences research and teaching. Dining Services staff and student, staff and faculty volunteers tend the garden. Since the garden was planted last spring, more than 75 pounds of herbs have been harvested.

“I’m very impressed with how many students jumped at the opportunity to volunteer,” Rachael Budowle, sustainability coordinator for Dining Services, said in a press release. “Almost all of them have already indicated they’re interested in returning and volunteering again. The students have talked extensively about sustainability and food issues throughout the harvest today; they are really learning something through this experience."

The Farms and Fields Project uses the majority of the herbs but plans are underway to flash freeze or dry herbs for future use. There are also plans to start growing more substantial crops such as organic vegetables.

 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is adding an additional $200 in dining dollars to each student's dining plan this fall, The GW Hatchet reports.

The boost comes just a year after the university switched to an open-format dining plan that allows students to spend their entire meal fund off campus; allowed venues include about 90 grocery stores and restaurants.

While students support the new plan, they are concerned about dining affordability. In conjunction with discounted meal deals that were implemented last semester, school officials hope the extra $200...

Ideas and Innovation
breakfast restaurant food

This March, past FSD of the Month Randy Lait and his team gave the FoodService Director staff a tour of the operations at North Carolina State University. During our visit, Randy shared how data is affecting their menu creation and menu mix. At the university, they’re encouraging chefs to use big data—and not just gut feelings—to inform menu decisions.

Every foodservice operator wants to offer more contemporary items in order to please their customer base and keep chefs challenged and engaged. Many chefs make those decisions based on their own tastes, or what’s exciting them at the...

Ideas and Innovation
french press

While a French press isn’t a tool found in most noncommercial kitchens, operators might want to think twice about multiple uses for this fancy coffee maker. Staff at the Hard Rock Cafe are using the French press to muddle fruit and alcohol for their mixed drinks, while at Chicago bar Moneygun, bartenders use a French press to blend spices and tea for hot toddys.

Ideas and Innovation
student food tray

Stories of students who can’t pay for lunch being given a subpar meal or shamed for their debt have proliferated in recent years, and it’s not an uncommon problem. The SNA’s 2016 School Nutrition Operations Report found that about three-quarters of school districts had an unpaid student meal debt at the end of last school year, an increase from 71% of districts reporting debt in 2014.

Government has begun to take action. In April, the USDA issued new regulations mandating that schools implement unpaid meal policies by the start of the 2017-18 school year and clarifying that schools...

FSD Resources