Archive for category Food

(Sustainable) Food for Thought

How does the absence of trays and trash cans in the dining halls indicate forward thinking by NAU Dining Services? And what is this stunning machine pictured below? Both are indicators of how Dining Services is making leaps and bounds when it comes to sustainability.

It looks innocent enough, but this powerhouse of a machine, pulps, grinds and dehydrates every bit of food waste from the NAU dining halls preparing it to become compost.

Meal production, from planning to cleanup, can have big impacts on the environment. Estimates put food waste in America at 30-40%. That means ordering a pizza and immediately throwing away two delicious cheesy hot slices. Painful, no?

And there’s a resource-rich history behind each of those pizza slices. Energy, water, animal feed, fertilizer, pesticides, transportation – these are all parts of food production. By reducing food waste, we conserve those resources. In addition, wasted food decomposes in landfills releasing methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas that contributes to global warming.

NAU Dining Services employs several sustainable practices to help reduce food waste on campus and promote sustainability.

Sunizona Farms is one of many Arizona farms that NAU Dining Services sources its local produce.

  • Local sourcing: During the past academic year Dining Services sourced 31% of its produce from Arizona farms reducing transportation miles and fuel.


  • Prep reduction: Dining Services utilizes a tracking program called LeanPath which helps kitchen staff reduce food waste during food prep. In its first year, staff reduced food waste by 20% during meal prep.


  • Feed people, not landfills: Through the Food Recovery Network student volunteers work with kitchen staff at the Hot Spot, Einstein’s, Starbucks and catering to package food that was not prepared butnot served during the lunch hour. They transport trays to local food kitchens. During the past academic year almost 9500 lbs. of food were donated to local food kitchens who in turn served it to Flagstaff’s most needy.

NAU student volunteers package up food daily to be donated to local shelters as part of the Food Recovery Network

  • Go trayless: Both campus dining halls not embrace trayless dining. This allows students to eat their fill but avoids the tendency to fill a tray with more food than can be consumed resulting in food waste.
Compost pile on south campus

A compost pile ‘seasons’ on south campus before being ready to be used in local landscaping.

  • Compost: If you have eaten at either dining hall recently, you may have noticed there are no trashcans. This is because every food scrap that is not consumed is pulped, ground, dehydrated and turned into compost thanks to the two recently installed SOMAT machines. After resting for a few months on south campus, this nutrient dense compost is ready for use both in campus landscaping and at local elementary schools. With the second SOMAT machine installed, NAU hopes to divert 200,000 lbs. of food waste from the landfill over next year and turn it into sweet, sweet compost.

A big round of applause to NAU Dining Services for their work towards making NAU sustainable. Check out Campus Dining’s website to learn about other programs they offer that contribute to both healthy people and a healthy planet.

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Kind Wine Competition and Tasting

Sunday, November 6, 2016, 3-6pm

1899’s Grand Ballroom on NAU’s Flagstaff campus

NAU is hosting the first and only sustainable packaging wine competition in the world. Wineries are jumping on the bandwagon as the growing trend for premium or even super premium, appellation-specific, vintage dated, boxed wines increase in availability. You be the judge, and vote for your favorite “People’s Choice Award.” The public tasting follows the sustainable packaging wine competition which will have a panel of professional judges as well as student and alumni participants.  

The wine industry is becoming more involved in developing packaging systems that minimize carbon emissions, with recyclable, reusable, and compostable containers. Wines must come in boxes, tetra packs, cans, or kegs to qualify for the competition. Learn how sustainable packaging impacts our environment and how small changes you make will manifest into an enormous difference.  

The millennial factor demonstrates how the largest generation of consumers is influencing today’s packaging landscape. Stella Carr, an NAU student reflects this sentiment precisely, “I’m really excited for our campus to be leading the way by creating a sustainable packaging wine competition. College campuses should be on the frontline of sustainability and education of the public, both of which will be accomplished at this inaugural community wine tasting. Building interest for sustainably packaged wines will help to support this new movement where the industry is already headed. I’m glad I can be a part of something trailblazing like this.”

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for students. You must be 21 to enter. Entry includes tasting of dozens of wines, a commemorative wine glass, appetizers, and there will be local crafts and merchandise at the silent auction.

Proceeds benefit NAU’s Office of Sustainability, dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship on campus and throughout the world.

For more info and to purchase tickets visit:

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Summer Book Review: Karl Weber’s “Food, Inc.”

Gaining infamy in 2008, the film Food, Inc. exposed the dark secrets of the American Food Industry. Director Robert Kenner showcases first hand accounts of animal cruelty, environmental degradation, food-borne illness, and public health concerns via the testimonies of farmers, industry workers, consumers advocates, and people like you. Working with Kenner, author and editor Karl Weber released the participant guide Food, Inc. This film to book companion became a New York Times Best Seller including contributions from experts like Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Anna Lappe, and many more.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Hungry for Local Alternative Food?

Check out Local Alternative’s monthly Supper Club!

The Flagstaff Supper Club; an opportunity to eat fresh, delicious and highly nutritious food w/ tremendous local value. Our ingredients are purveyed from local sources year round. This includes all the organic quality Meats and Produce as well as the Legumes, Dairy and Bakery. We look forward to serving you a special meal and in the enjoyment of it all learning what you would like for your next Supper.

All meals served from 5:30 to 7:00pm at The Green Room – 15 N. Agassiz St, Flagstaff

"Local Alternative" Logo

Next Supper Club Events:

Oct. 11th 2012: Moonrise Farms, Music: Pick n’ Grin 6pm, Live Jazz 6:30pm
Nov. 8th 2012: Flying M Ranch
Dec. 13th 2012: Ridgeview Farms and Summer Place Pecan Farm Flying M Ranch

*To buy tickets, or for more information, please visit:

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Spring Break Ride for School Gardens

Sam Hagler and Tim McKinley—two Graduate students in the Sustainable Communities program—have decided to throw the traditional spring break to the wind and participate in a worthy cause instead. According to their facebook page their mission is to:

bicycle 250 miles in Northern California, to raise awareness for the importance of school gardens as supplementary educational tools. With your help, we hope to raise $5,000 to support the schools’ independent gardening programs.

The money they raise will be used to fund school garden projects in the Flagstaff area in coordination with the Foodlink and School Gardens Aciton Research Teams (ARTs) on campus. Currently, they have raised $375 of their $5,000 goal. To donate, please visit the Ride for School Gardens Razoo page and be sure to follow their journey this week by tuning in to their facebook page.

Good luck Sam and Tim!


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Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA has shares left!

foodlinkThe Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA still has some shares left! If you sign up for a share you will get:

–20 packs of high quality vegetables starts
–onion bulbs
–7 varieties of seeds for direct sowing
This project is an initiative of Flagstaff Foodlinkand we are partnering with Native Plant and Seed. Your dollars help to support Foodlink’s mission to connect the Greater  Flagstaff area to local, regional food. More specifically, your membership to the Garden Starts CSA will help support school gardens throughout Flagstaff. You are also supporting local agriculture and will become part of the community of backyard and front yard gardeners.

Individuals who qualify for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will be able to pay for their share with their EBT card. All they have to do is register for the Garden Starts, and then fill out the EBT member form I have attached.

If you have any questions regarding the Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA, please contact Regan Emmons.

 Happy growing in 2012!