Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability Award

FoodService Director - News - Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability AwardMARTINSBURG, W.Va.—The 577-bed Martinsburg VA Medical Center was awarded the 2009 VA Sustainability Achievement Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Food and Nutrition staff was given the award for its Waste Watchers program, which reduces the department’s waste. The Waste Watchers program focuses waste reduction efforts in three areas: source reduction, food donation and composting.

The first step in the program was to track how much waste was created. The staff manually weighed and tracked pre-consumer waste in April 2008. They found that about 1,500 pounds of pre-consumer food waste was created each week. In December 2009, an electronic tracking system was implemented to help track waste. Then the department started reducing waste at the source. “We started looking at better forecasting,” said Annemarie Price, operations manager. “Unfortunately, there is going to be food waste. We have a patient cafeteria and we strive to offer options. We want the very last veteran to get the same selection as everybody else. This program has helped us look at food waste and reduce it.”

FoodService Director - News - Martinsburg VA Wins Sustainability AwardThe next step was composting pre-consumer waste, which began in May 2009. “After every meal in the cafeteria, we put any waste in biodegradable bags,” Price said. “We store these bags in our freezers so that the local farmer who takes our compost only has to come twice a month for pick ups.”

The third part of the program is donating leftover food to a local non-profit, Potomac Highlands Support Services, which has veteran housing on the hospital’s campus. Leftover meals from the cafeteria are donated to the organization.
Since starting the Waste Watchers program, food waste has decreased by 80% to 300 pounds per week.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

Read the full story...

FSD Resources