Sustainability at Tufts

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Category: Food (page 1 of 9)

Yale Food Systems Symposium: Request for Proposals

Third Annual Yale Food Systems Symposium
New Alliances That Shape a Food Movement 
Yale University, October 30 – 31, 2015

Request for Proposals

People in food movements around the world envision a future where our food systems restore degraded ecosystems, mitigate and adapt to climate change, improve community health, and facilitate more equitable economic exchange. To realize this ambitious vision we must encourage and support novel, collaborative, and holistic problem-solving approaches. We want to bring a diverse group of people and approaches together at this Food Systems Symposium such as those in the public health community who seek to increase access to fresh vegetables in urban centers; land conservationists who wish to preserve farmland; legal scholars who identify avenues of policy change; and immigration reformers who advocate for farm workers.

This year’s conference seeks to foster new alliances that will encourage crosscutting conversations, innovative thinking, and actionable strategies. Eaters across the nation struggle to find wholesome food choices that nourish their bodies without endangering important environmental and social resources. A true coalition will bring expertise across disciplines to creatively solve the otherwise intractable problems of food security and access, social justice, public health, environmental stewardship, and safety. These alliances and the common goal of an improved food system will serve as the guiding focus for the 2015 Yale Food Systems Symposium.

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CSA at Tufts

What is Community-Supported Agriculture?

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a popular way to buy local, seasonal produce from small farmers. The movement began in the 1980s and there are over 13,000 CSAs in North America today. Customers pay a flat fee at the beginning of the season and then pick up a box of freshly harvested fruit and vegetables each week from a central drop-off location (e.g. the Tufts Office of Sustainability, located in the back of Miller Hall).

 

Why Join a CSA?

  • Upfront payments help farmers in the beginning of the season, when cash flow is most crucial.
  • Ultra-fresh food is more nutritious and tastes better.
  • Contribute to the local economy and know exactly where your food comes from.
  • Make new and exciting recipes with heirloom vegetables you can’t find at the supermarket!
  • Some CSAs include local eggs, herbs, and processed items like cheese or jam.
  • Cut down on food transport mileage.
  • Farms in the Boston area are not expansive monocultures – whether they are certified organic or not, they employ methods that are better for the soil and use fewer herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers.

 

Tufts CSA Options

  • World PEAS is a program of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, which supports immigrant, refugee, and beginning farmers in eastern MA. Includes vegetables and fruit! http://www.ctiworldpeascsa.org/Default.asp
    • Shares
      Small ($27.25/week, feeds 2)
      Large ($40.75/week, feeds 4-5)
      Egg share ($4.50/week, 1/2 dozen/week)
    • Season Dates
      Summer/Fall share: June 9 – Oct 22
      Fall share ($30/week, feeds 2): Sep 3 – Oct 22
  • Enterprise Farm is a first generation family farm thatgrows certified organic vegetables. The CSA Farm Share allows a member-supported Mobile Market to bring affordable, farm-fresh food directly to underserved neighborhoods in Springfield and Somerville. http://enterprisefarmcsa.com/
    • Shares
      Small ($19.25/week)
      Medium ($24.78/week)
      Large ($32.89/week)
    • Season Dates

Summer/Fall share: June 8 – Nov 7
Fall share: Sep 1 – Nov

 

For more information…

Please contact Sylvia Lustig of the Tufts Green House (sustainable living on-campus housing) at Sylvia.Lustig@tufts.edu or visit http://sustainability.tufts.edu/get-involved/community-supported-agriculture/

 

 

Eco-Reps Update: New Events!!!

There have been many Eco-Rep Events this month all that involve sustainability, environmental awareness and empowering Tufts students.

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Compost and Mud Pies

Last week a composting event was held at Houston at which residents learned how to compost, what to compos,t and the purpose of composting. To give a creative spin, the Eco-Rep Rachel Grudt and residents made delectable compostable deserts called ‘mud pies’.

Environmental Jeopardy

On Thursday, Bush and Hodgdon hosted a joint event of Environmental Jeopardy, where residents from both dorms participated in answering Jeopardy questions about composting, recycling, and basic environmental facts. This event also had a make-your-own-fajita Chipotle bar!

Get ready for Earthfest happening on April 11th—and look out for the clothing swap where second-hand clothes are free for the taking! Hang out on the academic quad starting from 11 to 2 pm to see it for yourself!

 

-by Hayley Ernyey

Tufts Eco-Reps Keep Busy This Week!

We don’t know how we did it, but the Tufts Eco-Reps managed to survive another week of environmental overload! In a good way, of course!

We kicked off the week on Tuesday with a Hodgdon-Bush movie night! First, a talk was given by Maragaret Garcia, a PhD student with the Civil Engineering Department and member of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) water diplomacy program.

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She shared her personal experiences and motivation for pursuing a career focused around water diplomacy and concluded with a question and answer session. The talk was a unique opportunity and provided a wonderful segue into the movie Last Call at the Oasis, written and directed by Jessica Yu, which urged viewers to be more conscious about the world’s current and impending water crisis.

 

Following on Thursday, the Eco-Reps teamed up for shifts at the Dewick-MacPhie dining hall where a display was set up to educate diners about our program. The display featured the compost program within the dorms and dining halls, a compost continuum showcasing the progression from food waste to nutrient-rich soil, the benefits associated with meatless meals, and a general introduction to the Eco-Rep program for any interested students.

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The table was a success with almost all of our program’s stickers being handed out to students who eagerly slapped them onto their newly received “Choose to Reuse” reusable Nalgene water bottles. The bottles were provided courtesy of the university as part of an initiative to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles.

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Friday proved to be no less hectic when the Eco-Reps were asked by the non-profit Reverb to host another table at the Eco-Village for the Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Grouplove. Before the concert started, the Reps attended a meet and greet session with the members of Grouplove.

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The team then set up a table next to other volunteers and organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s where concertgoers could explore sustainability both within and outside of the university. The concert was a loud success, as we rocked our way to a greener tomorrow.

Finally, the week wrapped up with free smoothies in Bush Hall! The Eco-Reps paired up with the ACE fellows to show students how to eat sustainably and stay healthy during the coming exam period. The event was a refreshing end to what was another crazy week for the Tufts Eco-Reps.

Keep an eye out for us on campus, and until next week, don’t forget to stay green, stay fresh, and stay kale (…what?).

Tufts Dining responds to online petition for cage-free eggs

On June 26, an online petition on Change.org was started by Tufts student Jeremy Goldman asking Tufts Dining to switch to cage-free eggs.

The petition inaccurately suggests that Tufts Dining does not offer cage-free eggs nor did they respond to previous requests to do so, stating that “Hundreds of students have signed a petition calling for the switch, and we have passed a nearly unanimous Student Government Senate resolution in support of the switch as well. Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears, and we Tufts students are devastated to see our school lagging so far behind in standard sustainability and public health efforts.”

Tufts Dining does in fact offer offer cage-free shell eggs and egg whites. For over 10 years, they had also purchased cage-free liquid eggs at an annual premium of $30,000 but switched back to regular eggs about three years ago due to mounting pressure to reduce costs. The cage-free shell eggs and egg whites are available to those who want a cage-free option.

On the resolution passed last April by the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate calling for a switch to cage-free eggs, Tufts’ Director of  Dining and Business Services, Patti Klos, told us via email that while  the TCU Senators informed her of their awareness of the issue, they did not indicate that they were going to bring it to a resolution, nor share the outcome of the resolution with her.

Below is  Tufts Dining’s response to the petition, which unfortunately is not posted online:

Tufts Dining Service efforts are aligned with healthy eating, extensive variety, sustainability and ethical animal practices and we champion sustainability wherever we can. We are sympathetic to this particular issue and in fact, we used cage- free liquid eggs – which account for the majority of our eggs — for about 10 years. Unfortunately, the cost-differential between conventional and cage-free eggs grew to the point that it was costing over $30,000 a year– the equivalent of a student scholarship covering one-half of a student’s tuition, fees, and room and board.

Currently, we do use cage free whole eggs and cage free egg whites, so students have an option. We are always looking for ways to increase cage-free egg use and to find suppliers who can meet both our quality and budget needs, recognizing that cost is a growing concern for many students and their families.

While the economic climate does not yet enable us to use only cage free eggs, we continue to implement many other sustainable dining initiatives. We source locally and increase our sustainable food procurement every year. We have also made great strides in recycling, composting and waste reduction. We do our best to thoughtfully balance costs with the need for an extensive variety of fresh, nutritious food choices produced with as little impact on the earth as possible. Our practices will continue to evolve and we are always open to thoughtful suggestions and discussion.

– Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services

For the record, Dining has responded positively to student petitions in the past – Trayless Dining and banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles from Hodgdon Good-to-Go were student-led initiatives that got the green light. Both were started by students from the Ex-College class on Environmental Action, going through a long process that involved careful research, meetings with administrators, and campaigns to raise awareness as well as support implementation.

Dining is one of our office’s strongest partners for sustainability initiatives at Tufts, and while we applaud the students’ passion and initiative to make change, using an online petition in this manner casts a distinctly one-sided and unfair light on Dining – not to mention Tufts as a whole.

My biggest concern is this type of tactic is how it may affect other student initiatives that are in the process of being responsibly vetted, planned and executed. The petition cc’s 21 people, including all Dining managers, the President’s Office and Public Relations. Every time someone signs the petition, an email falls into several inboxes. Needless to say, the petitioners have gained attention – but what did this exercise cost them in terms of respect and credibility?

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