The dinner, which featured autumn vegetable soup and cider-and-thyme-steamed mussels, was Harvard University Dining Services’ chief contribution to the University’s Sustainability Week.
“Sustainability is something that we’ve focused an enormous amount of attention on and is one of our department’s overriding goals,” said HUDS spokeswoman Crista Martin. “[This dinner] is a great way to complement tomorrow’s [sustainability celebration] event.”
The Sustainable Dinners were held in all College Dining Halls, the Radcliffe Institute’s Cronkhite Dining Room, and Dudley Café.
And diners got more than just mouthfuls of food. Representatives from Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the College Environmental Action Committee were on hand at all the Houses to engage and educate diners about sustainability.
“We’ve been talking about the dinner, where it’s from, why it’s more environmentally friendly and about Sustainability Week in general,” said Elizabeth W. Nicholas ’09, a Resource Efficiency Program representative.
“There have been a lot of people who stopped to talk and thought it was great,” she said.
The dinner was one of many programs HUDS organized this week to draw attention to their increased commitment to sustainability, including screening various “green” movies around campus last night and a week-long challenge encouraging students to eat lower on the food chain and try tray-less dining.
Students and dining-hall staff interviewed last night said they received the local produce menu enthusiastically.
“I think it’s a great thing, dining and eating locally,” said Gary C. Davis, who has worked in the Adam’s Dining Hall for 27 years and has his own garden. “The students love it. I haven’t stopped all night and I started off at two burners and had to go to three.”
Undergraduates said they loved the food, with students calling it “fresh,” “delicious,” and the “best food of all year.”
Despite the sustainable dinner’s positive reception, Harvard students shouldn’t expect future dinners to be sustainable just yet.
“We couldn’t serve a sustainable menu every day,” Martin said. “The realities of the food system do not allow for that at this point.”
But Martin said HUDS will continue to take active steps in that direction.
“We do continue to try and find new sources for local food and improve our general [carbon] footprint in creative ways” she said.
—Staff writer Natasha S. Whitney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.