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Bon Appétit at Penn Dining Hosts 2nd Annual Eat Local Challenge

September 23, 2010

On September 28th, Bon Appétit at Penn Dining will be hosting Penn’s second annual Eat Local Challenge. Penn dining halls will feature lunch options made with ingredients from within 150 miles of the campus (the only exception is salt). At Kings Court/English College House, all dishes will be 100% local and at Hill College House, 75% of the offerings will be local. At other Penn Dining locations there will be at least one designated station highlighting local options.  The Challenge is part of Bon Appétit at Penn Dining’s ongoing Farm-to-Fork program, which partners with small-scale, owner-operated local farms and creates unique partnerships between students, chefs, and local farmers and artisans.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, food now travels in the United States between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table, as much as 25 percent farther than two decades ago. Food is increasingly being grown or processed overseas. The required transport, especially air-freighting, does incredible damage to the environment in the form of climate change and air pollution. Eating regionally is a good way to reduce the immense amount of non-renewable resources wasted in transporting food.

One of the highlights of this year’s event will be Executive Chef Donald Stauffer’s Jersey tomatoes in tomato basil bisque. Also new this year will be the ability of dining hall chefs to take advantage of the most local of all options - Penn’s hydroponic garden in the lower level of 1920 Commons.  During the summer, the garden produced a wide variety of greens and herbs, astounding 8-foot tall tomato plants, peppers, a coffee bush, a fig tree, and a young banana tree. The garden is now being replanted after the recent summer harvest, but some of the garden’s bounty is still available for the Challenge. Participants in the event will also have the opportunity to meet some of local farmers who will be on hand to talk about their partnership with Penn.

So join the Eat Local Challenge. It’s a delicious way to support the President’s Climate Action Plan in creating a more sustainable campus environment. For more information visit: http://www.upenn.edu/dining

Fact

If each person on campus uses one paper coffee cup each day, Penn would produce 9.6 million cups for waste

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