University of New Hampshire Greenhouse Project

University of New Hampshire Greenhouse Project


Here at the University of New
Hampshire, we’re real proud to take our food waste and actually
turn it back into food that people can consume
right here on campus. Typically, I think most
universities would probably send the food waste
down their drains. Here you’re actually taking a
product that is waste, and turning it into something that
is a benefit for our food production systems. I think it’s a big
component of the University of New Hampshire. We actually take all of the food
that’s left on plates or in bowls, and we grind
that up into a pulp within our dish room. And then we actually haul that
product, that pulp, all the way back to the Kingman
Farm here on campus. The Kingman Research Farm is
one of the Ag Experiment Station’s facilities. And this is the site where we
compost some of the horse manure that comes from campus. And then we incorporate the food
waste that comes from the dining halls. Once it arrives at the Kingman
Farm, it’s dumped into various rows, where it’s turned with
other material that’s collected here from campus. The more it’s turned, the more
air that goes into it, the more carbon that’s
broken down. And the nitrogen source, food
waste and manure also will feed the bacteria to help
in that process. We’re really excited about a
new initiative, which is to actually take that compost and
use it in two new greenhouses that we just built
this summer. What we’re going to be doing
here is producing greens for primarily the dairy
bar, but other dining services locations. And then there will also be
a field experience in horticulture class associated
with this. So there will be a bunch of
students that actually participate in all the
aspects of growing greens for dining services. The advantages for us
is we’re getting the freshest product possible. Literally two hours from the
time it’s harvested out of the greenhouses, it’s in
our operations. We’re using it. That’s how fresh this is. So our products will never be
any better than they are grown right here on this campus. How’s it going? Good. We deliver them directly
to the Dairy Bar. And the Dairy Bar can
serve it that day. I’m a big proponent of local
food, and you can’t really get much more local than that
at a university. We’re teaching a whole
generation how to harvest and grow greens year round, right
here in New Hampshire, which is really exciting. And so the partnership that we
have with COLSA goes beyond just something that lands
in the dining hall. It’s about the entire
experience. It’s about the educational
component on our end, and for the students. As a student, it makes me proud
to be a part of this program with the University
of New Hampshire, because sustainability is a pretty
important part of our world today. And it’s good to know that the
university is doing something about it with the compost. I believe the university and
dining can be very proud of taking a product that is
considered waste and making something that’s actually
valuable and very beneficial. I’m excited that UNH is really
leading the way. It really puts us in the
forefront of what we hope to become, which is
a really closed loop sustainable campus.

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