Dining Services Highlight: local burger lunch


Some notes from Lorey Duprey, our Dining Services Director, on highlights from today’s lunch:

“Tuesday lunch we will be featuring burgers with all local products, including award-winning Raye’s mustard and Northern Girl veggie fries.  So come on in and enjoy your lunch.  Celebrate local foods with an all local burger lunch!”

Our delicious lunch included:

Thanks, Lorey and crew!

1st Annual Food Day, Just around the corner!

This Monday, October 24th, Unity College will be participating in the inaugural Food Day!  Food Day is a nationwide event meant to bring attention to current issues that we face with in this country in regards to: diet related diseases from high fat, high sugar and processed foods, food access and hunger, subsidies to large agribusiness as well as environmental and animal right’s issues associated with factory farming.  Food Day is sponsored by The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non for profit watchdog group that
has led successful fights for food labeling, better nutrition and safer food since 1971.

Several events will be hosted on Food Day throughout the campus that will highlight the issues at
hand.  This event is a perfect opportunity to engage students, faculty and community members with dilemmas, that are not only happening nationwide but in our own backyard, with in our food system.

To sum it all up: come out and enjoy a fun filled day with, local foods and community building!

Hunters & Huggers Dinner – a slide show

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This event was also covered in the Morning Sentinel.  Nice story, here.

A mid-summer’s virtual tour of VFA

For those of you who can’t tour around Unity with VFA, I suggest you take this virtual tour of our fields to see how we’re progressing.  2011 is gonna be big.  How big?  We’ve got:

  • over 2000 row feet of onions
  • 2000 row feet of potatoes
  • over 1400 row feet of winter squash and pumpkins
  • 1800 row feet of early cabbage and 2500 row feet of late cabbage
  • and roughly 1800 row feet of carrots

….and miscellaneous crops at our Albion Road garden (including beans, tomatoes, corn, and rutabaga).

If you’re not excited yet, you’re not eating enough vegetables, ’cause this is going to mean tons and tons of fresh food for folks in our community!

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Sharpen your shovel…

…and spruce up your spreadsheet.  With the growing season on its way, garden planning is underway!  At Unity that means more than just consulting last year’s crop map to plan for a nice rotation.  It’s a family affair.

Dining Services leadership and Sustainability Office staffers put their heads together this week to determine a strategy for increasing the use of campus-grown crops in Dining Services meals.  Aside from determining the perfect greens for blanching and freezing (AND student taste), picking potato varieties to cultivate, and getting guidance on a ton of other agricultural choices- we’re embarking on a review of purchasing to identify areas where we can increase local buying.  We are already serious about supporting regional businesses and growers, but we’re always looking for ways to bump up local buying.

What does that work look like?  Just yesterday work study staff-person Ryan Green was poring over a big pile of invoices and calculating interesting figures, such as Unity College’s annual broccoli consumption and carrot purchasing frequency.  Thanks, Ryan!  One thought is, if we can help our Dining Services department save resources with on-campus supplementary crops, perhaps there will be some wiggle room to purchase local products that tend to be slightly more expensive.  It’s a working theory, but we’re excited to work on it more with students, Dining folks, and garden staff as we head into the warmer months.

Northeastern Food and Justice Summit

This past weekend, myself and three other Unity College students attended the Northeastern Food and Justice Summit at Northeastern College in Boston. The conference was put on by a team of  amazing organizations; The Food Project, Student Farmworker Alliance, and Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (COFED) and was sponsored by Real Food Challenge. These organizations united to get high schoolers, college students, youth leaders, and all of those involved in food justice together for a high energy weekend of brain storming, idea sharing, and plenty of great food!

There were just too many workshops to choose from, with (insert number here) amazing options going on during each session. The first workshop I chose to attend was named “Local Food in the New Economy” and was run by Daniel Ortega from the New Economy Working Group. Ortega began by briefly skimming over the multiple crises the human race finds ourselves currently in (social, economic, and environmental) and then proceeded to introduce the workshop participants to the idea of a new economy, new ways of measuring success, and how the ideal of community based economies, particularly local food systems, fit into the whole scheme. It was an interesting way of looking at one possible future for our world; one of national harmony based from local economies.

Alexis Fox, from the Massachusetts chapter of the Humane Society, led a workshop on effective lobbying at the state and local level. Fox has plenty of experience lobbying for animal rights and pushing forward farm animal protection bills. Her presentation was moving, informative, and a very effective call to action to all the college aged attendees. The room was quiet save for thirty or so pens wildly scratching out every word from her mouth.

The whole weekend was an amazing experience, full of energy, networking, new friendships being forged, good food being devoured, ideas speeding around the northeast, and hope for a new food future. In the future, when more summits like this come close to Unity, I will most certainly be attending, as I encourage you to as well.

Unity College Sustainability Profile (pt.2)

(Continued from previous post.  Reminder that this is a snapshot of sustainability achievements compiled May/June, 2009.)

Campus Operations

Unity College has among the lowest emissions of any college in the country – 2 metric tons CO2e per FTE in 2008 (average emissions for 100 self-reporting baccalaureate colleges is 9.17 metric tons CO2e per FTE according to the ACUPCC online reporting system). As a small school of approximately 530 students, we’ve made operations improvements with limited resources – our endowment of less than $3 million is about 25% of our annual operating budget. According to the Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, the Infrastructure challenge (or Campus Operations) involves Energy, Food, and Materials.


  • The 1,937-square-foot Unity House is expected to produce more electricity than it uses every year, and is complete with a 5.4 KW photovoltaic system, solar hot water, and a cold climate heat pump. The LEED Platinum home uses passive solar design and high-efficiency thermal insulation to decrease the need for fossil fuel inputs.
  • Unity College pays a premium rate for purchased electricity – 100% comes from Maine-made renewable sources including hydropower and biomass.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from campus energy use have decreased nearly 20% from 2001 levels despite adding new buildings and record enrollments. Reductions are attributed to efficiency upgrades in older buildings, and efficiency focus in new construction.
  • As a part of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Accelerating Campus Climate-Change Initiatives program, Unity College is proposing the appointment of a Sustainability Fellow to assess and prioritize emissions and cost savings from future improvements to multiple buildings.


  • 18% of the meat, fish, and produce at the College came from local sources last year. All community and catered events place a primary emphasis on the use of local and seasonal foods.
  • Organic produce from our campus garden is used in the College cafeteria and at the local emergency food pantry. The garden staff works closely with dining services to grow and process food that will be useful for summer conference programs as well as school-year meals.
  • This summer, Unity appointed a Farm & Grounds Manager and two half-time Sustainable Food Production Assistants to manage food growing programs on campus.


  • Unity College is committed to LEED building standards and environmentally friendly building materials. Recent construction of Maplewood, a residence hall, and the Health Center feature super-insulated ceilings and walls, low-e windows, and low VOC paints, glues, and adhesives. We source Maine products in construction and renovation projects whenever possible.
  • The College uses 100% post-consumer recycled fiber, FSC-certified paper in all campus printers and copiers.
  • Unity’s custodial services team has implemented a comprehensive green cleaning program that incorporates Green Seal certified cleaning products, Andersen door mats, and a team cleaning approach. The program has attracted attention from other institutions and serves as a model in the field.

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