Students browse Hampshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The open kitchen lets students see how their food is prepared.
AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is known for its critically acclaimed food. Though the dining commons provide quality food, they equally pursue sustainability. Each promotes this, but Hampshire Dining Commons particularly emphasizes reducing its waste output.
Hampshire, also known as Hamp, focuses on purchasing local foods and serving smaller portions to reduce waste, according to Manager of Hampshire Dining Commons Selina Fournier.
“Sustainability has been part of the mission since I’ve been on campus,” said Fournier, who has worked at UMass for ten years.
Fournier said more than 30 percent of Hamp’s food is grown by local farmers like Joe Czajkowski, who specializes in organic fruits and vegetables. The rest is sourced regionally within 250 miles of Amherst.
Southwest white bean salad and Asian vegetable peanut slaw are two healthy options at Hampshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. They were served on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.
Hamp’s cooks serve smaller portions to prevent unnecessary waste. Known as “just in time cooking,” food is cooked to order so no extra food is produced.
A cook prepares produce at the gluten-free station at Hampshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Produce like this is grown by local farmers around the Amherst area.
Unlike the other dining commons, Hamp doesn’t serve soda. Fruit smoothies, water and fresh-squeezed juice are offered as healthy and sustainable alternatives.
Smoothies made from avocados, bananas, spinach and coconut milk are an example of the beverages offered at Hampshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. They were served on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.
An open kitchen lies in the center of the dining hall, which is unique to Hamp. Fournier says this allows students to see who is making their food and to realize that everything is made from scratch.
Sonja Sutton, one of Hamp’s cooks, said cooking sustainably gives students different perspectives on food preparation.
“I think it’s great for our community. I think if you give to the community, you get back from the community,” she said.
Cooks serve food to students at the Chef’s Table on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The Chef’s Table is one of the food stations at Hampshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.
According to Fournier, the amount of students using meal plans rose to over 19,000. She said despite increasing numbers, waste output remains the same. She thinks educating students is a key component in reducing waste.
Fournier, who worked in fine dining before coming to UMass, said she’s still impressed by Hamp’s quality.
“The quality of the food is top-notch. I was very impressed coming to UMass [to see] what students were served versus what adults pay top dollar for when they go to a restaurant, so I’m very proud to be a part it,” she said.
Now that UMass holds the Princeton Review’s number one spot for best campus food, Fournier says the University must maintain course.