MASCO’s sustainability work group brings together representatives from more than 20 LMA organizations to share best practices and expertise, identify issues and develop solutions to increase environmental sustainability. By working together, group members are advancing green chemistry, waste management and recycling, alternative commuting options and green dining.
Food in LMA hospitals, schools and businesses is getting greener, and not just at the salad bar. A focus on sustainable dining has led to changes in menus, equipment, recycling practices, cleaning methods and food distributors. More than a dozen LMA organizations are pursuing green dining initiatives.
Local, Healthier, Better
Locally grown, seasonal produce is fresher, tasty, and better for the environment. In the LMA, locally-grown offerings are widely available in restaurants and cafeterias. Diners can also find meat and dairy products raised without growth hormones and with limited antibiotics, grass-fed meat, cage-free eggs, sustainable seafood choices, and fair-trade coffee.
Reducing Waste and Increasing Conservation
Expanded recycling programs and composting of food waste are helping LMA institutions make significant reductions in dining-related waste. Recyclable cups, plates and utensils and reusable take-out containers are now commonly used, and fewer individually-packaged items are available. Food service managers are also selecting vendors who use returnable packaging and sustainable products.
Cafeterias and kitchens in the LMA are reducing energy use by installing more energy-efficient institutional refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances. Tray-less dining programs and improved fixtures are also reducing water use.
Farm Fresh in the LMA
Farmers’ markets are making it easier for those who work or study in the LMA to purchase healthy, farm-fresh foods to take home. On Wednesdays, Harvard Medical School hosts a farmers’ market that offers fruits and vegetables, local breads, cheeses, jams and spreads. The Brigham Circle farmers’ market runs from noon to 6 pm on Thursdays. Three vendors are featured each week, and special appearances will include biweekly bicycle tune-ups, a monthly band performance and a health information table.
Share the Bounty
One new and innovative program will bring fresh, locally grown produce to LMA employees and help provide healthy food to low-income families. The new Farm to Family program from Bowdoin Street Health Center and The Food Project enrolls LMA employees who sign up to receive farm boxes full of freshly-harvested produce. Members pick up the boxes at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Wednesdays from July 6 to October 19. The purchase price includes an optional donation to help cover the cost of subsidized boxes that The Food Project provides to low-income families in Dorchester. For more information and to sign up to receive the weekly produce box, visit http://thefoodproject.org/f2f.
For more information on green dining efforts in the LMA contact Ulla Hester, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-632-2818.