Chicago 430 S. Michigan Ave.Chicago, IL 60605(312) 341-3500
Schaumburg 1400 N. Roosevelt Blvd.Schaumburg, IL 60173(847) 619-7300
Image credit: MaryBeth Radeck
Surprisingly, commercial food preparation generates a substantial carbon footprint by consuming large amounts of energy and generating tons of waste. Chief among the energy wasted is from ventilation systems, cooking and dishwashing. Not only does dishwashing consume an inordinate amount of energy, it relies on a substantial amount of water, too.
Food and packaging represent hidden energy and carbon costs due to the secondary efforts to grow, manufacture and transport them, in addition to handling them as waste products.
Roosevelt University’s Dining Service addresses all of these issues and has become one of the only truly socially- and environmentally-responsible food service operations in the Midwest.
This year, the University is conducting a test on its rooftop to determine the types of herbs, vegetables and fruits best suited to grow there. (XX) modular containers on the 5th floor were outfitted with lightweight soil and fertilizer, then planted with seed in April.
By late May, chive, baby arugula, broccoli sprouts, thyme, baby spinach, chive and lettuce were the most successful. By the end of June sage, oregano, peas and beans were in abundance. A total of 22 lbs were harvested from the rooftop and shared with the Dining Center.
By July, lettuce, kale, endive, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, green onions, cucumbers, okra, squash, cucumbers and watermelons had been planted for a late summer harvest.
There are also plans to install a tumbler composter near the gardens on the 5th floor rooftop which will recycle the plant waste on the rooftop and enrich the soils there.
Roosevelt food service partners with suppliers which practice environmentally sound and socially-just practices such as:
A local source with a social justice mission, partners with Chicago to employ at-risk youth, some of which are hired at Roosevelt
A local micro-roaster which purchases beans from farmers at fair-trade prices
Provides waste-free oil disposal by regenerating oil into other products, including biodiesel