If you were in the Commons Wednesday, you most likely noticed the display on the left side of the entrance: a table covered by a white tablecloth. Atop it sat a tri-fold poster board, paper handouts and free food samples.
If you were to look closer, you would notice that the food consisted of carrots, celery and hummus in bamboo wrapping and fruit on a wooden stick. The handouts gave tips on how to reduce food waste.
The tri-fold board displayed information on how to “Go Further with Food.”
An informal tabling, called Think.Eat.Save, was sponsored by the Student Wellness Program and served to promote awareness for a larger issue that affects not just the Salisbury community, but everyone who lives on our planet: sustainability.
“To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations,” the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website states.
“To me, sustainability is protecting the Earth,” University Dietitian Terry Passano said.
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food”. The Think.Eat.Save informal tabling sought to promote this theme through linking food and sustainability, and outlining steps that students can take to “Go Further with Food” by reducing the amount of food they waste.
According to the USDA, about 30 percent of American food supply at the retail and consumer levels is wasted. And, according to the EPA, reducing wasted food has numerous environmental benefits, including reducing the amount of methane that is released from landfills and conserving the resources involved in growing, preparing, transporting and selling food.
Passano weighed in on the environmental effects of food waste.
“As it turns out, food that is produced and not consumed is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases,” Passano said. “So if that were a country, it would be… the third-largest producer of greenhouse gases… behind China and the United States.”
Reducing food waste also has benefits for consumers. If a person purchases less food, they save more money. The USDA estimates that the amount of money spent on wasted food per year amounts to about $1,500 for a family of four.
There are steps that students can take to practice sustainability in their own lives through reducing the amount of food waste they produce. Passano suggests watching the amount of food you eat as a way to eat sustainably, specifically in the Commons Dining Hall.
“You don’t want to pile your plate up and then not eat it,” she said. “If you’re not sure about something, you know, try a little bit and then… go back if you want more.”
When it comes to eating out sustainably, her advice for students is to be more mindful of what they order and how much they order.
Passano also suggests sharing food with the people you are dining with and making sure that if you have leftovers, you are taking them home and consuming them through the next day.
As for students who go grocery shopping, Passano suggests they take an inventory of the food they have in their home before deciding what to purchase at the grocery store.
“Some of us, like, go shopping, we just take whatever appeals to us, and then we get home and say, ‘Well, what am I going to make out of this? I don’t know,’” Passano said. “So then it may go bad, because you don’t really have a plan. So always have a plan, so do a little inventory in your house before you go.”
She also suggests using reusable water bottles made out of materials such as stainless steel instead of plastic water bottles as a sustainable swap. That way, the plastic will not end up in landfills.
Another informal tabling is set to take place Wednesday in the Pocomoke Room of the Guerreri Student Union from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
By ALLISON GUY
Featured photo: Allison Guy image.