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Brown Dining Services

Blooming Initiatives

SCRAPDirty Trays

The relationship between the college and us being a local processor...not only helps my company but it helps the local farmers we buy from.

-- Tammy Cardillo, owner, Ocean State Peeled Potatoes

Brown Dining will continue the mission of the Community Harvest program and a commitment to socially and environmentally sustainable purchasing practices while embracing new initiatives and ideas that increase our efforts toward more sustainable dining service practices. In this section you will find our most recent departmental and campus-wide efforts around sustainability.
  • Trayless Dining
  • In October of 2008, Brown Dining committed to trayless dining in its Verney-Woolley (VW) dining hall and eliminated trays entirely.
  • Trayless dining conserves half of a gallon of heated water per tray. We project a saving of over 4,800 gallons of water per week and 155,000 gallons per school year. Studies have shown trayless dining also reduces plate waste, energy, and chemicals otherwise used to wash trays.
  • The VW customer counts range from 250 to over 1,000 per meal, depending on the meal course. Trayless dining conserves the 1/3 to 1/2 gallon of heated water per person that it would have taken to wash each of their trays.
  • Real Food
  • Real Food
  • As Wendell Berry says, "Eating is a political act." At Brown, we are committed to buying foods that are local, ecological, fair, and humane. Currently 22% of our food meets at least one of these "Real Food" criteria. With 340 other colleges and high schools nationwide, Brown is supporting just and sustainable agricultural systems. Brown is also one of the first institutions in the nation to pilot the Real Food Calculator to track and assess our purchases. In our dining halls and especially at the new Blue Room, we are constantly working with students, staff, farms, and businesses to serve as much Real Food as we can.
  • Send us your feedback. Email us comments and ideas about Real Food at Brown Dining.
  • Real Food Challenge website
  • Real Food Challenge blog
  • Real Food
  • eco To-Go
  • Reusable containers are reshaping the to-go program at the Refectory and Verney-Woolley
  • SCRAP, Student Composting to Rejuvenate Agriculture in Providence
  • SCRAP is Brown University’s student composting initiative.  Working with Brown Dining and Facilities Management, SCRAP is currently striving to have composting not only in the dining halls but also available to students who live both on and off campus. 
  • Compost is a sustainable process that diverts “waste” food from the landfill and puts it back into the soil.  Compost is the decomposition of organic material, specifically of nitrogen (from food waste) and carbon (from branches, leaves, anything “brown” – dry and from nature), to produce a natural, rich organic fertilizer.  Decomposition is a natural process; composting is merely speeding up this process.  There are many different methods to composting, but the key elements are the carbon and nitrogen. Once you have these, the compost naturally heats up (accelerating the decomposition process); all you have to do is mix it every once in a while so every element breaks down to create beautiful compost.
  • That’s easy: It’s good for the environment! Instead of letting food sit in a landfill and slowly decompose, composting accelerates this process without releasing harmful greenhouse gases.  Moreover, compost can be used as a fertilizer – it’s the most natural kind there is!
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