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How GREAN are their college days

Post by News Tribune Staff on Oct. 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm | No Comments »
October 10, 2006 10:40 pm

Some students pledge sororities and fraternities. Some pledge abstinence. Some Pacific Lutheran University students pledge GREAN.

Repeat after this:

I (state your name) pledge to (pick from Sustainable Foods Pledge list below), thereby participating in an attempt to move PLU and our broader society towards a more socially, economically, and environmentally sound future.

GREAN, or Grassroots Environmental Action Now, is PLU’s student-driven sustainable foods movement. The goal is to reduce campus food waste through donations and composting, and to increase the amount of local and organic food served on campus.

“Composting is really important,” said J.P. Kemmick, a senior who spent the summer researching food at PLU, from its sourcing to its disposal, with fellow senior fellow senior Rachel Esbjornsen. “Right now we put it in a cement box and it won’t get back to the earth.”

As the student sustainability intern for Dining Services, Kemmick is working to reduce food waste through composting. Esbjornsen received a Sustainability Fellowship to study ways of creating a culture of sustainability on campus. Both are featured in PLU’s Campus Voice zine.

Here are some other highlights from PLU’s sustainable GREAN scene:

* Campus Dining Services is now buying cage-free eggs from nearby Wilcox farms and has received a “safe seafood” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch healthy oceans program. Currently, 4 percent of Dining Services food purchases are from sustainable sources. Its goal is to increase green spending to 20 percent next year and 30 percent the year after.

* Freshmen writing students are doing community service projects, serving left-over Dining Services food at the Tacoma Rescue Mission. There’s a writing assignment involved.

* Two students have created an organic garden on campus. They’re donating the food to the Emergency Food Network for needy families.

* The Matrix is a quarterly social-justice journal written and edited by students. The first issue of the year will be all about food issues, animal issues and organic issues.

* A film series this month focuses on food. On Oct. 17, it’s “The Future of Food,” a bad-big-guy vs. good-little-guy polemic against genetically modified foods. On Oct. 26, it’s “Fed Up,” a documentary about genetic engineering, industrial agriculture and sustainable alternatives. Check PLU’s Sustainable Foods Movement or contact the department at 253-535-7296 or

* An appearance Wednesday night by Anna Lappe, co-author of “Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen."

Here is PLU’s Sustainable Foods Pledge:

Purchase more organic foods

Purchase foods that are grown or produced locally (the closer the better, to reduce shipping)

Eat less meat

Avoid eating at fast food chains, instead supporting local restaurants and cafes

Eat only free-range meat

Avoid processed and packaged foods

Support Habitat for Humanity

Grow some of your own food

Cook your own meals using whole foods

Learn how to compost many food wastes

Ask that your local grocery store provide more local/organic produce (and then buy them!)

Start buying food at a farmers market

If you buy packaged food, check that the packaging can be recycled

Purchase a food share from a local Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farm

Learn to cook your own meals

Volunteer at a local farm, community garden, food bank, or soup kitchen

Tell others about the importance of eating more local/ organic foods, reducing food waste, avoiding processed and packaged foods, and eating more vegetarian meals.

Farming and growing
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