Partnership Aims to Increase Plant-Based Meal Options, Curb Environmental Impact
Davidson College and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) this week announced a new partnership that will bring more plant-based meals to a generation of students demanding healthier and more sustainable foods.
The partnership with the HSUS puts Davidson College in the top tier of colleges and universities nationwide that provide plant-based options—now, more than 40 percent of the meals offered in Davidson College’s dining facility will be plant-based. The college also will reduce its purchase of animal-based products by 10 percent.
“Davidson College Dining understands that providing world-class cuisine on campus starts locally with our college farm and extends through our diverse team of chefs, led by Executive Chef Craig Mombert, who specialize in global cuisines,” said Pinky Varghese, director of dining services. “Providing fresh and sustainable plant-based foods while reducing our carbon footprint are goals we take seriously, though never at the expense of great taste or quality in our process.”
Student concerns about health, climate change, factory farming and environmental injustice are motivating institutions to examine and change their practices. This partnership with the HSUS also will move Davidson College closer to achieving goals outlined in the college’s Climate Action Plan, said Yancey Fouché, director of sustainability.
“The campus farm and composting program have helped the college move towards a closed-loop food system over the past decade,” she said. “This latest, focused effort to prioritize plant-based menu items will be cheered by students seeking to align their values to action—ranging from animal and climate activists to members of our community just beginning their journey with eating as a step towards personal and planetary health.”
The college joins hundreds of colleges, universities, hospitals and K-12 schools nationwide in its commitment to provide more healthy, sustainable plant-based meal options.
“The Humane Society of the United States is proud of our partnership with Davidson College to reduce its meat usage and shift its food purchasing to more plant-based offerings,” said Sonny Rodriguez, coordinator of food service innovation at the Humane Society of the United States.
“Our food service innovation team is excited to work with Davidson College to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with flavor-packed plant-based foods. This partnership will show other colleges and universities across the country how to successfully create a greener campus and quickly reach their sustainability goals,” he said. “A sustainable planet starts with plant-based foods on the plate, and Davidson College is leading the way.”
Health and the environment have been found to be key motivators for changing diets. This generation of students is increasingly demanding more environmentally conscious and sustainable plant-based options. By serving less meat and more plants, Davidson College is taking a critical step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- The United Nations has implicated animal agriculture as one of the top contributors to global environmental problems due to its vast use of water, land, fossil fuels, and high carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
- One calorie from animal protein requires 10 times as much fossil fuel as one calorie of plant protein.
- The standard American diet creates seven times the greenhouse emissions of a plant-based diet.
- Almost one quarter (23 percent) of consumers report eating more plant-based meals in 2020.
Chefs and food professionals at the HSUS work with food service companies at colleges and universities nationwide to ensure their success in increasing their offerings of healthier and sustainable plant-based foods. Through this partnership, the HSUS food service innovation team and the culinary team at Davidson College will work together to perfect plant-based meals that appeal to everyone, from flexitarians to vegans.