April was the first time Mary Baldwin College held a sustainable food week, but the results were so dramatic, it's altering the way the school will serve food next year.
Rather than an open-ended cafeteria style line, students were given a token a single meal. If they wanted seconds, they had to go get another token, which forced students to think before they ate.
At the end of the week, the college reduced food waste by 60 percent, which could lead to a savings of $45,000 if implemented year round. The results surprised even the event organizers.
"For a small college like this, that becomes translated back into the plate. What can we do? How much more local can we buy? How much better can we make the dining program when you're not throwing that into a dumpster and then therefore into a landfill," asks Director of Dining Services Mary Van Nortwick.
Because of the success, the school will provide a sustainable meal program year round next year.
Organizers say it will keep meal plan costs down for students as well as encourage a healthier lifestyle on campus as the so-called 'freshmen 25' is a serious health concern for college students.
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