Famous for the amount of food produced, the St. Paul’s School dining hall strives to be conscientious of the environmental world that we take for granted
|Larry Pletcher, owner of The Vegetable Ranch|
First, eliminating the use of the traditional lunch trays and implementing normal-sized plates and bowls drastically reduced the portion sizes of students and subsequently, the amount of food wasted after meals. Next on the sustainability checklist for the dining hall was how to reuse the food that gets thrown away. The solution? Compositing! The dining hall staff separates food, napkins, and other biodegradable materials used at meals. In addition, plastics and aluminum are recycled and reused in different ways. Food, napkins etc. can be composted to eventually produce soil that can be used to grow the vegetables and fruit that we eat and the grass that feeds the cows that become our meat source.
To further improve SPS sustainability, the school dedicated plots of land that are used as a pasture for cows to graze. As a result of this strategy, SPS now produces their own beef, which reduces the amount of resources that would be needed to ship hundreds of pounds of beef across the country and onto the campus.
SPS reduced the need for lawn mowers and pesticide treatment because the cows act as natural lawn mowers for the field they graze, and the pasture doesn’t have to be manicured using gasoline from a real lawn mower and with harmful chemical pesticides that can destroy local ecosystems. Many large beef producing companies no longer grass-fed their cattle because it is more expensive than a grain mixture, and this mixture actually makes cows more susceptible to disease. Eating beef that is grass-feed is beneficial to the health of the SPS community and this method helps to ensure the humane treatment of the farm-raised animals.
Between composting the food and increasing the ways in which the community can produce its own food, SPS has become more conscientious of how humans impact the environment. Because of the actions of humans, the world is facing environmental problems that have never before been seen, and humanity must find the strength to overcome the belief that humans are separate from the rest of the living world.