Tons of students run in and out of the dining halls to grab a quick bite to eat during their busy days but rarely do they stop and think about where their meal came from.  MDining is putting in a lot of work to become more sustainable.  Why, you may ask? One, it's better for the environment.  And, two, the students asked for healthier options.  

MDining truly wants to hear what the students have to say and they are willing to collaborate with student organizations.  In fact, Spoon University and MDining have partnered together for an event to answer your questions because you should know what you're eating.

What is the event? 

Lydia Eisenbeis

MDining is featuring two delicious Spoon University recipes at South Quad on April 2nd, one for each lunch and dinner.  There will be parmesan and balsamic brussels sprouts and stuffed portobello mushrooms.  The recipes are going to be prepared using the fresh products MDining receives daily!

Where are the ingredients coming from? 

More than 30 Michigan farmers provide MDining with vegetables, fruits, honey, and other foods for the dining halls. For example, when you're eating your soft served ice-cream, it's actually straight from a local Michigan dairy farm, and the coffee you wash it down with comes from less than 15 miles away from campus.  There is also a campus farm, where students and volunteers grow food.  MDining is using the produce to promote plant-based options.  

What are the environmental benefits of promoting a plant-based diet? 

Every week, MDining hosts "Sustainable Monday" to promote environmentally-friendly eating. Eating plant-based meals from local produce will help with sustainability.  It takes approximately 1,850 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, whereas, it takes only around 39 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables.  And the numbers don't stop there.  51% of greenhouse gases are reported to be from livestock.  

If we attempt to reduce our carbon footprint we can also allocate our resources differently.  For example, if we took the amount of grain used by the meat industry and fed it to people, we could feed around 840 million people.  MDining wants students to know these facts so they can be more conscious while eating. 

What are the health benefits of a plant-based diet?

There is a long approval process for menu items because MDining knows students can't be the leaders and best without being healthy.  MDining promotes plant-based diets because of the health benefits.  

Plant-based diets have a lot of cool health benefits: they decrease the risk of certain cancers, help curb obesity, and reduce your risk of type two diabetes.  But, even if you don't cut meat out of your diet completely, MDining still wants you to have your daily serving of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. By having your daily serving of these foods, you can make sure you're staying healthy and getting the nutrition you need!

What is MDining planning for the future? 

Sustainable foods are locally sourced and third-party certified. Over 18% of MDining's food is sustainable.  But, MDining's big goal is to be 20% sustainable by 2025.  MDining wants to teach students to care about the environment while also providing them with delicious food.  And, MDining is always happy to listen to ideas from the students.  So, if they're not planning something you want to see, speak up.

MDining is working hard to give students the true farm to table experience.  So, next time you eat in a dining hall, think about where your food came from and the part you can play to help the environment. Check out the Spoon & MDining event for great recipes and facts about sustainable eating!