Tackling Food Waste at Furman: Chapter 3

By Catherine Hayward

Last week’s Chapter 2 explains what Furman does to redirect leftovers instead of sending it straight to the landfill. Chapter 3 explains the broader mission of redirecting waste and how Furman students are advokating and encoruaging change by spreading an understanding of sustaibility.

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The Furman Farm manager Bruce Adams explains how the farm has a broader mission than just composting. While composting is a huge help, sometimes perfectly good food is gone to waste.

“In 2014 we launched the Imperfectly Delicious Produce program, working with our farmers, suppliers, and chefs to source cosmetically challenged produce that would otherwise be left to rot in the fields or discarded in the processing plant,” he said.

The farm contributes to Furman’s mission to be more sustainable by 2026. Along with increased solar energy and a reduced carbon footprint, the farm promotes conversions of sustainability.

The Furman Farm is not the only group on campus supporting this environmental awareness. Students on campus range in opinions over sustainability and whether Furman is following the right steps.

When asking students what they think about sustainability the answers varied.

Sophomore Furman student, Marina Cox described how she thought she was familiar with what sustainably meant but when asked directly to define it it was more difficult.

“I think sustainability is about finding ways to make our planet more renewable and resourceful,” she said.

When it comes to Furman’s campus, Cox said she agreed that the campus was sustainable because she noticed a student effort to recycle paper, plastic and glass.

Understanding sustainability, however, is more complex than just recycling, RJ Bradley said.

“The average person does not truly know the definition of sustainability not because they are uninformed, but because it is so broad and there are so many possible interpretations,” he said.

Bradley said individuals in well off country are especially wasteful.

“The mindset we have is that if we have the resources to do so we may as well produce in plenty. This is not right,” he said.

Much of the knowledge students on campus understand are aspects that they have observed. This is why focusing on visual and hands on activities is important, the fellows said.

Being informed is not the best way to make true sustainable change in a culture, but it is a start, Furman University Outdoors Club President, Kat Denney said.

“People have become increasingly removed from the natural environment. We have become accustomed from floating from one air conditioned box to the other and have forgotten our connections with the environment and the impact we have it on it and it on us,” Denney said.

Reconnecting to the outdoors is essential and can foster a better appreciation for the resources we have, Denney said.

Check back to the blog next week to read the final chapter 4 of Tackling Food Waste on Furman’s campus to hear student’s opinion on reconnecting to nature.

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