- State News
- Gas Industry
Green Corner: Sustainable Dining
March 23, 2012
By Alyssa Tomaskovic
Throughout the process of trying to make Lycoming College more sustainable, one of the instrumental players in the whole progression has been a group that probably would not be the first to come to mind.
Nick Zolak and Parkhurst Dining have teamed up with the Sustainability Committee to become more eco-conscious on the food front of things.
Since signing their contract with Lyco last year, our new food provider has made it clear that being sustainable is on the top of its to-do list.
One of the biggest issues that Zolak and the Parkhurst team put great emphasis on is the amount of food that comes from local farms or companies.
According to Zolak, between 37 and 40 percent of the food and beverages served in the dining hall is acquired locally.
By definition of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group’s FarmSource ® Initiatve, “local” is within 125 miles of Williamsport.
This supports the neighborhood economy and small business owners while cutting down on emissions that result from product transportation, all of which are major components of social and environmental sustainability.
Parkhurst is a big proponent of the Know Your Source program, which involves traveling to the locations where the food is produced or grown.
Currently, a local foods dinner is being planned for April, which will coincide with LEAF’s Earth Week programs.
Parkhurst Dining Services has become skilled at making the most of waste products.
The used oil from frying and other cooking processes is sent to be converted into biodiesel by the Department of Buildings and Grounds, which is used to fuel some of their vehicles (so if a truck passes by and you catch a whiff of French fries, that’s the biodiesel you’re smelling).
One project that is active at other schools such as Penn State University is known as the Canola Task Force.
The purpose of this program is to get dairy farmers to start growing canola as feed stock, having a central location for a press to extract the canola oil, and then using this in food preparation. The leftovers can then be shipped and converted into biodiesel and sold back to farmers.
In order to continue with the initiatives that have already been put in place by the Sustainability Office and Committee, Parkhurst hopes to bring more awareness to student food waste and is considering the possibility of a future composting site and campus garden.
As always, questions,comments or ideas about Parkhurst Sustainability or sustainability can be directed (via e-mail) to firstname.lastname@example.org.