Dining Services strives to serve sustainable food by supplying the cafeteria with local foods, hormone-free milk, fair trade and organic coffee and tea,and local cage-free eggs. Look below for specific initiatives.
Local Food used in the Cafeteria
Luther’s local food purchases have increased from 2% to 17%, as our Dining Services works with area producers to increase supply. Currently Luther purchases from approximately 17 local producers, which are located within a 100-mile radius of campus. Most of Luther's pork and beef is local, and Dining Services receives produce from Luther Gardens.
Food and Water Waste
In an effort to prevent food waste and precious water resources, Luther College, in 2009, made the decision to go tray-less. By washing 3,000 less trays per day, the dishroom is now running the dishwasher 2 hours less per day, which saves 700 gallons of water. Energy it takes to heat up the water has therefore been reduced.
Paper Cup Waste Reduction
In the Fall of 2007 Marty's switched from using disposable to reusable cups, which made a significant difference in the amount of disposable cups being used (especially for meal transfers). Marty's significantly reduced waste following the switch from disposable to reusable.By September 2007, 7,197 less disposable cups were used. Waste was reduced by 50%. Marty’s, Oneota Market, and Sunnyside Cafe have also added a 30 cent charge for disposable cups used for hot drinks in an effort to reduce waste and encourage students to use reusable cups and mugs.
In 2005, Luther began converting waste vegetable oil from campus dining locations like Marty’s, the Cafeteria, and Oneota Market into biodiesel. The biodiesel is used in vehicles on campus. Luther converts 100% of its waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. That waste vegetable oil from Dining Services amounts to 1200 gallons of biodiesel per year.
Zero Waste Picnic
Luther College first-year students and their families were introduced to the college's sustainability ethic at the Luther Zero Waste Picnic. Guests learned about sustainability at Luther and the benefits of local foods and were encouraged to take only what they could eat and compost all they could not finish—scraping leftovers onto a compost pile and tossing the edible plates onto Plate Mountain
Luther students can compost waste from their plates, and food scraps from the cafeteria kitchen are collected daily and brought to our compost pile. This compost eventually feeds our campus gardens. Food waste composting at Luther occurs at three dining locations: the cafeteria, Marty's, and Oneota Market. Dining Services composts both pre and post food waste.