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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

FSD Resources