Two weeks ago, I began my second foodservice rotation at the University of Maryland Dining Services. While working at the South Campus Dining Hall, I was pleasantly surprised by all the sustainability efforts being made by Dining Services. Their “Green Dining” program supports multiple sustainability programs on campus, such as reusable carryout, waste separation, composting, and bottle filling stations. Dining Services also supports the Farmer’s Market at Maryland, which provides students with the opportunity to purchase directly from local farms. Every Wednesday in the spring, members of the UMD community can enjoy the food and friendliness of a farmers market right on campus.
I was really excited when I was asked help out Allison, the Dining Services Sustainability and Wellness Coordinator, at the UMD Farmer’s Market. When I first arrived, I couldn’t help but take a quick stroll down the aisle of vendors. Local farmers were selling fresh produce, breads, meats & cheeses, jams, and other artisan products. I also saw the Green Tidings truck, a mobile food truck that serves local, sustainable food throughout campus. I my first job was at the Farmer’s Market Information Table, where I talked to students and staff about Dining Services sustainability efforts and upcoming events on campus. As an incentive to come, we handed out free UMD Green Tidings t-shirts to the first 100 visitors at the Farmer’s Market.
After the giveaway, we held an on-site healthy, cooking demonstration featuring a delicious chickpeas stew with couscous. During the demo, I passed out recipes to students passing by and handed out free samples. This was a great way to engage customers and show them hands-on how to prepare easy and healthy meals.
Overall, I was really impressed by the University of Maryland’s dedication to provide healthy, fresh, locally-grown produce and other products to students on campus. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the Dining Services staff at the Farmer’s Market and on other sustainability projects!