Sustainability on campus is in full force this spring! The Faculty Student Association (FSA) and CulinArt are hard at work with green initiatives to make Stony Brook University a more sustainable community.
From “Farm” to Fork
The FSA’s Freight Farm is an all-weather steel constructed freight container that has been converted into an automated hydroponic farm. The farm’s system works to create perfect growing conditions for plants through red and blue grow lights and programmable dosing of nutrients.
The Freight Farm not only provides students with the experience of eating food they grow while enhancing their knowledge of sustainable agriculture, but also offers experiential learning outside of the classroom. “The Freight Farm is operated by students, and is currently growing 750 heads of Bibb lettuce which we hope to harvest in about four weeks,” said Perry Tucciarone, Dining Manager of Roth Food Court.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
The Waste Not program is another initiative aimed at making the campus a more sustainable place. In the United States, 40% of all food produced is sent to landfills. The food degradation process in landfills forms methane, a greenhouse gas around 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
The Waste Not program was developed to track, measure and reduce food waste by focusing on production waste, over-production and unused/out of date inventory. “Roth Café has implemented the program and we have reduced our waste by analyzing the products we purchase and how much is produced per meal period,” Perry explained.
Reusable takeout containers are available as part of a pilot program at East Side Dine-In, West Side Dine-In and Roth Food Court. Containers are available for a one-time refundable charge of $5. Return your used takeout container to exchange it for a clean container, or receive a token to get a container at another time. The initial $5 charge will be refunded to you when you are finished using the program and turn in a takeout container or token.
Another green initiative on campus is the implementation of reusable bags and containers. Suffolk County Law now requires convenience stores to charge five cents per single use bags. Reusable tote bags are available for purchase at the East Side Dining Emporium and the West Side Dining C-Store for $1.99 each.
In addition, the campus’ composting system is thriving as well. “This semester alone, more than 6,000 lbs of food waste were converted into usable compost,” Perry said. The compost created is used in the landscaping and flower beds throughout campus.