A Taste of Sustainability

Post contributed by Campus Dining.

It’s a spring day, the sun is warm, and the flowers and plants outside are displaying the most vibrant hues.  You stroll to the garden and pluck a perfectly ripe tomato from the vine.  The aroma is irresistible, and you take a bite; enjoying the firm texture and fresh taste while allowing a river of red lusciousness to escape down your chin.

There’s absolutely nothing that matches the experience of enjoying great tasting food and sharing it with good friends.  During your college years, you begin to develop preferences that can last a lifetime.  Tiger Dining wants to help you develop a taste for fresher, healthier foods that are locally produced. We believe that when people are exposed to products that are allowed to ripen naturally and are served fresh, their taste buds will tell them the difference.  There is an ancient proverb that says that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and maybe your first step into a more sustainable lifestyle is enjoying locally grown produce in one of our dining halls.

Once you have taken that first step and realize that local food tastes better, you will be happy to know that when you create a custom salad in one of our dining halls, you will be helping to support a farmer who lives just down the road.  Like the idea of helping local folks? Look for the Auburn Foods icon around campus.  By eating Auburn Foods, you’re getting the freshest food possible and are directly involved in improving the lives/livelihoods of local residents.

Not a salad eater?   Tiger Dining has options for you as well!  Join us at a dining hall to enjoy a burger or fish entrée, and you’re directly supporting fellow Auburn students.  Burgers served at Foy and the Village are procured from the Lambert-Powell Meats Lab, providing Meat Sciences students with necessary real-life experience.  Tilapia served is grown at the Aquaponics project located at E.W. Shell Fisheries on North College Street.  These fish are served within a day or two of harvest – to get any fresher, you’d have to catch it yourself.  In addition to creating a tasty plate, these fish are the generator of the Aquaponics system which uses water from the fish tanks to grow produce.  The cucumbers, tomatoes, and various other vegetables grown in the greenhouses are harvested and served on campus. When you enjoy these foods, you’re supporting the research efforts of multiple graduate students who are working to perfect a more sustainable food system that we anticipate will be replicated throughout the world.

Finally, Tiger Dining believes that the highest purpose of food is to feed hungry people; we prize food as a resource.  To promote individual health, societal connectedness, and general good stewardship of our resources, Tiger Dining saves any unserved food at the end of each day.  We store it safely until the Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) volunteers’ next pickup.  CKP collects unserved food from campus and local restaurants and repackages it into nutritionally balanced meals that are distributed to food insecure individuals within the local community.  Last year, CKP distributed more than 53,000 meals in the local area.  In addition to saving unserved food, scraps from food preparation are collected and composted to start the food cycle all over again.

This is sustainability you can taste!  Share a meal on campus with friends.  You’ll not only fuel your body well, you’ll also support sustainable efforts throughout the Auburn community.

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