PRESS RELEASE from UNC Asheville:
UNC Asheville Dining Services – operated by Chartwells – is proud to announce that the university’s Brown Dining Hall is now certified as a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). Operating in 47 U.S. states and in Canada, GRA encourages restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certiﬁcation standards. Brown Dining Hall now joins Asheville restaurants like Curate, French Broad Chocolates, Green Sage Café, Corner Kitchen, and several others as a certified Green Restaurant.
Additionally, UNC Asheville has just become the first higher education facility in the state of North Carolina to be designated as a Fair Trade University by Fair Trade Campaigns. UNC Asheville Dining Services worked together with a committee of student, faculty and staff volunteers to achieve this designation. Fair Trade is an economic system that ensures products were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognize schools in the United States committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products like coffee, tea, and sugar.
The new 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant honor plus Fair Trade certification are the latest milestones in the continuing sustainability effort by UNC Asheville Dining Services. Other steps have included working toward near-zero food waste in the kitchens, dedication to providing compostable serve ware and recyclable food containers in every food outlet on campus, nurturing new and existing relationships with local farms and purveyors such as New Sprout Organics and Mountain Food Products, and ongoing food recovery for donation to the hungry in conjunction with Food Connection.
“We’re so very proud of all of our efforts towards sustainability. Things like the Green Restaurant certification and the achievement of Fair Trade status make our community outreach and our commitment to local food tangible,” said Brooks Casteel, Director of Dining Services at UNC Asheville. “We’re so excited to show how invested we are to bettering not just our campus, but our community.”
In an effort to take sustainability goals even further, UNC Asheville Dining Services has hired a sustainability coordinator. Meghan Ibach will join the team on Sept. 25, bringing a wealth of knowledge about the Asheville area and years of experience with local farmers and partners. Ibach will act as a point-of-contact for on-campus partners like UNC Asheville’s Office of Sustainability and the Fair Trade Committee, and for off-campus partners like Mountain Food Products, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, and New Sprout Organics.
UNC Asheville Dining Services hopes to continue to partner with the sustainable and local food movements in Asheville to help support and protect the environment and quality of life in Western North Carolina.