Coffee breaks without waste
Bennington’s Roz’s Café operates a bring-your-own-mug program and a mug-share system to avoid using single-use coffee cups. This year, Bennington plans to eliminated 35,000 single-use hot cups for coffee. Reusable mugs with logos are a possibility, as well.
Managing a menu MVP
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Liquid eggs had been Bennington’s most-used dining hall product, at 275 cases each year, which equates to 550 20-gallon plastic bags (and their caps) which were not recyclable and had to be thrown out. New this year, Bohrer has phased out liquid eggs, replacing them with Feather Ridge Farm eggs from Elizaville, N.Y., a family farm that’s 75% solar powered. “We re-engineered the menu to use more whole eggs,” Bohrer says. “We trained and moved labor around to the breakfast hour and changed the menu for more single-egg presentations.”
Clamming up the clamshells
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This year, 5,000 plastic clamshells for salads and sandwiches will be replaced by edible bowls (a baked tortilla) for salads and butcher paper, upon request, for sandwiches.
Serving in bulk
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Serving foods like potato chips and yogurt in bulk, rather than individually packaged, will eliminate about 22,985 single-use bags of chips and 5,976 yogurt cups per year at Bennington.
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The dining team will be making its own mixes for pancakes and muffins, using more King Arthur Flour (a Vermont product) and eliminating the plastics associated with pre-packaged mixes.
More local partnerships
Bohrer, pictured, is working for more collaborations with farmers in the area. For example, he has just made a sweet potato deal with Laughing Child Farm in Pawlett, Vt.
Engaging the community
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Bennington College’s food studies program has partnered with the dining team for tours focused on sustainable practices in action. “We are developing a community-engaged curriculum,” says Tatiana Abatemarco, visiting faculty member in the food studies program. “One of the best community engagement practices is happening right here on campus. The students ask questions and make suggestions, but they also learn about all the hard work and challenges of an operation that feeds hundreds of people a day.”