Cal Dining forum hosted by ASUC addresses food sustainability on campus

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Sam Lubow, the Environment Initiatives coordinator at Cal Dining, talked at a forum hosted by the ASUC External Affairs Committee on Monday.

Lubow and her team of 10 students in the housing and dining sustainability team work on waste reduction and purchasing sustainable food. They also work on recycling, gardening, food literacy, energy and water conservation and supporting the basic needs program on campus.

“Our group recently merged with the residential sustainability program, and so we are slowly transitioning to sustainability for housing and dining at UC Berkeley,” Lubow said during the event. “Our goal and our momentum right now is trying to reduce the amount of animal products we’re serving throughout Cal Dining. We’re trying to serve food at the intersection of delicious, healthy and sustainable.”

According to Lubow, within Cal Dining, all of the eggs are “humane certified” from local farms. Every week, Cal Dining receives 50 cases of produce from Coke Farm, a farm aggregate that brings small farms together. The coffee in all of the Cal Dining locations, retail and residential, is fair trade by standards.

One of the goals of the sustainability team is to have 20 percent of the products purchased be sustainable according to their practices, which can be certification based, by 2020. These products would have to be humane certified, locally grown or organic certified.

In terms of waste reduction, the group strives to reduce waste in dining halls, making it either compostable or recyclable. By conducting a concession waste audit for every football game, the team helps train staff and students in concession stands.

“For me, I’m really excited that gardens of Clark Kerr and Brown’s are open and available to the public,” said ASUC Senator Teddy Lake. “I think it’s a fantastic community space to give back to the environment and the hard work that Cal Dining Sustainability is doing, and I personally was inspired to reach out to my community. It’s also exciting to know that Cal Dining partners with the food pantry.”

Brian Liu, a campus junior who attended the event, has been working for Cal Dining for seven weeks. Liu said although he “appreciates the dialogue” of the presentation, it was still disheartening to see people describe animal exploitation as “humane and sustainable.”

“I really liked the no waste, the part on reducing waste and the part on using less water,” Liu said. “Although the most popular food from a lot of cultures are the ones that contain meat, that is in a way a product of white culture sort of choosing the food that conforms to its taste. Veganism is just an insight into diversity of food and creativity that we can express through various herbs, spices and others.”

Contact Bella An at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BellaAn_dc.