WINNER: RESTAURANT ASSOCIATES AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
ENTRY: SUSTAINABLE DINING PROGRAM
THE BIG IDEA: Talking local ingredients is one thing but actually incorporating them consistently and comprehensively in a large-volume dining operation is quite another. That is what is so impressive about Restaurant Associates' operation at the Harvard Medical School: The commitment to buying locally is consistently incorporated into the menus.
Some examples: the protein items served at the grill station at the Elements Café come from local farms and processors, local cheeses from New England are regularly featured on the menus, more than 20 local pre-packaged products like yogurts, snacks, juices and sodas crowd the grab-and-go shelves, local farms provide the bulk of the fresh produce used during the growing season and there is even an onsite herb garden to provide an in-house source of seasonings.
The initiative not only enhances the menu at Harvard Med's three RA-operated cafes but helps promote the institution's mission to emphasize healthy, sustainable dining while also fostering ties with the local community and boosting local businesses.
The program is augmented with other green aspects, like compostable disposables and the scheduling of weekly farmers markets during the summer in the main café locations. These events not only promote local growers but encourage relationships between Harvard Medical School students and staff and the farmers while also educating the customers about the source of their food and the benefits of buying locally.
PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS:
Harvard Medical School
director of campus operations