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How 3 operations put a spotlight on plants

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Campus eateries are using a wide range of techniques to sell new plant-based items derived from their local procurement processes. Here’s a look at a few.

Boston University

Every week, BU’s three main dining halls participate in a Wholesome Roots program, with menus that showcase foods with a low carbon footprint, such as plant-based proteins, poultry and fish. “In addition to designing a specific menu for these days, we sample one menu item throughout the mealtime, initiating a conversation about the menu item and its sustainability and health benefits,” says Joseph LaChance, director of dining. “This past spring, we partnered with a student government committee to promote a weeklong vegetarian challenge in conjunction with Earth Week.” The university’s goal is to have its seafood purchases become 100% sustainable by 2020.

Boston Children’s Hospital

The Guilt Free Grill is reshaping the menu by providing guests with items they might not normally be introduced to. The team is moving in the direction of “leading with plant-based cuisine and touting our ‘Less Meat, Better Meat’ marketing program,” says Shawn Goldrick, senior director of patient support services. “It’s a transformation statement to offer less meat on menus, but the meat that is offered is, at the very least, hormone-, antibiotic-free and grass-fed beef.”

Harvard Dining

“We don’t want to be looked at as ‘the food police,’ because we serve 6,500 undergrads and have to give people choices,” says David Davidson, managing director of The Food Literacy Project within the dining department. The Bistro Bowl on campus is normally a grill-to-order station, but on Thursdays, it’s transformed to showcase new menu items, such as crispy Parmesan cauliflower on top of a bed of spaghetti. “We saw little to no issue [from diners] because what they were served was delicious food,” Davidson says.

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