UMass, Seton Hill honored by Real Food Challenge

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa., are among the winners of the 2011 Real Food Awards, sponsored by the Real Food Challenge. The UMass Amherst Permaculture Committee was recognized in the Student Group or Activist category. Darren Achtzehn, foodservice director at Seton Hill, was honored in the Food Service Director or Manager category.

The UMass students, with the assistance of Auxiliary Services, set up the first permaculture garden on campus earlier this year. The ¼-acre plot, located adjacent to Franklin Dining Commons, will be home to a variety of vegetables, berry bushes, fruit trees, herbs and flowers. See FSD article here.

“We think UMass permaculture is a model for campus learning, student engagement, and sustainability,” said Ken Toong, executive director for auxiliary services. “We are glad to be part of the student initiative, and [are happy] it has become a campus and national interest.”

Seton Hill’s Achtzehn was recognized for his efforts to make his department more sustainable. Among his efforts have been implementing trayless dining, creating a campus garden that raises tomatoes and peppers, instituting a composting program and introducing reusable to-go boxes in the dining halls.

In addition, 22 colleges and universities were named Real Food Pioneers by the organization. Students at these institutions have, according to the Real Food Challenge, worked with dining administrators to quantify what percent of the schools’ budgets is spent on local, community-based, fair, ecologically sound or humane food. A complete list of honorees can be found here.