Nardin's dining hall daily produces both breakfast and lunch from food that is largely locally sourced, organic when possible and always scratch cooked. Through relationships developed with nearly 30 local farmers and vendors, foods that are seasonal, mindfully grown and that support the interests of the larger WNY community are purchased.
Along with building community relationships, the menu offers a diverse range of options that provide ample opportunities for students to incorporate healthy foods into their diets. Students also taste test new foods in order to help build menu diversity and to expand their palates and dietary preferences.
The Nardin dining hall and kitchen strive to be zero waste. Last year, nearly 10 tons of waste was created in the dining hall and 90% was diverted to either compost, recycling, or upcycling. The kitchen is tasked with producing enough food to feed the Nardin community, but not so much as to create needless waste. "Batch cooking" is one way to satisfy a diverse and unknown number of diners, as well as dedicated daily record keeping and long-term log keeping. Because of these efforts, students, staff, and faculty alike have the pleasure of being served food that is being cooked just as they are arriving for lunch rather than eating food that was processed, frozen and reheated earlier that day.
With the zero waste initiative, students are learning the truth about the real weight and burden of waste our society creates even from the simplest of daily activities and to have a responsibility in solving the problem. Daily, students sort their lunch waste into clear bins marked for compost, recycling, and trash instead of mindlessly tossing "garbage" into recepticles. It is in this daily deed that students can learn that an individual's actions count more when compounded by a community in collaboration. One person could not lift our diverted 18,000 lbs, but a community can.
What else are we capable of accomplishing?
Chef Julie Levin