Dining hall hosts 150-mile meal

Williams College promotes sustainability by serving local foods to students.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.—Mission Park dining hall hosted a 150-mile sustainable food breakfast last Wednesday. The meal boasted local foods raised and grown within a 150-mile radius of the College campus. A variety of foods including Hudson Valley cage-free eggs, East Mountain Farm sausage, Nitty Gritty Flour pancakes, Ioka Farms maple syrup and many other local products, were served to 276 students.

The meal was a successful continuation of the sustainable food initiative prompted by the student groups Real Food Williams and Thursday Nights Grassroots. Begun last year as part of a “No Impact” week, 150-mile meals seek to raise awareness of local sustainable food options and promote the efforts of dining services to reach higher levels of sustainability.

The 150-mile radius is set forth from the Real Food Challenge as a distance most advantageous for promoting the local food economy and reducing the effects of large-scale transportation of produce. The College took up this challenge with the intention of promoting close food sourcing, continuing a familiar relationship with the local community and achieving high levels of sustainability. Dining services has been involved in this initiative for many years and hopes to achieve a level of 20 percent “real food” by 2020 as defined by the Real Food criteria.

Since the inception of the 150-mile meals last year, the process of creating menus and finding locally grown food has become easier with the increased experience of Dining Services, students and faculty. While it is challenging to produce a full meal with only local options during the winter, dining services has actively pursued many different venues and used creativity to create nutritious and filling meals. They have also been able to balance the economic differences that occur due to the higher costs of local products by reducing extraneous items such as the soda machines, imported cereals and store brand breads. While some students were taken aback by the lack of coffee and other usual items at Mission’s breakfast, the meal brought into question the necessity of these items.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

Industry News & Opinion

Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

Sponsored Content
whole grain pasta foodservice menu

From Barilla.

With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

FSD Resources