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Eating at Hedrick Dining Hall. What goes into an average dinner here?. The Mission!.

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Eating at hedrick dining hall

Eating at Hedrick Dining Hall

What goes into an average dinner here?

The mission
The Mission!

The goal of my project is to understand the process the ingredients in my dinner had to undergo before they were cooked in the dining hall. In this presentation, I will try to follow the ingredients from their birth (the farm) all the way until their death (the compost site). So let’s begin!

My meal
My Meal

Salad from the Organic Salad Bar

Rotisserie Chicken with Peach Sauce and Rice Pilaf

What s in the chicken dish
What’s In the Chicken Dish?


-Rotisserie Chicken(Gallus domesticus—domestic chicken)

-Rice Pilaf (Oryza sativa)

-Peach Sauce

>Celery (Apiumgraveolens)

>Onion (Alliumcepa)

>Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

>Peaches (Prunuspersica)

The chicken and the rice
The Chicken and the Rice

The chicken and the rice is probably grown industrially. UCLA serves around 20,000 meals everyday (according to Robert Gilbert) and could not possibly get all their products from artisanal farms. Industrial farms grow massive amounts of the same produce (monoculture) and can supply customers that need large amounts of food on a consistent basis (ex. UCLA). The chicken is probably grown in a CAFO where they fattened on #2 corn. It provides a way to get rid of the excessive amount of corn grown her in America. The rice is probably grown in Asia, the largest producers of rice.

What s in the organic salad
What’s in the Organic Salad?

The Ingredients:

-Spring Mix

>lettuce & other leafy vegetables

>(family name: Asteraceae)

-Ginger (Zingiberofficinale)& Sesame (Sesamumindicum) dressing

-Tomatoes (Solanumlycopersicum)

-Broccoli (BrassicaOleracea)

From the farm
From the Farm

  • Everything in the salad bar is grown organically

  • ORGANIC def: in order to be considered organic, the farm has to be certified organic and follow these rules:

    • Keep the farm free from toxic pesticides & fertilizers for at least 3 yrs.

    • Not use genetically engineered seeds or materials

    • Uphold these goals: sustainability, decrease soil erosion, biodiversity

    • Use little to no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers

    • Practice crop rotation

  • However, they still grow their crops in monoculture way in order to meet the demand– which is why they are allowed to use some pesticides. The USDA have vague organic farm regulations, still trying to clarify them

  • Produce is from UCLA probably grown on industrial organic farms (such as Earthbound) because a constant supply of produce is needed

  • “Some of our items are organically-grown and pesticide free” Dining Hall Website

    • Look for this image, means the product is at least 90% organic!

Eating at hedrick dining hall

We make an effort to purchase California-grown produce. This supports the local economy and reduces energy use and pollution resulting from the transportation of goods”

Dining Hall Website

Similar to the FarmtoCollege Program Results

Since UCLA is in such a prime area, there are other opportunities in which UCLA can purchase locally. One option is to partner with CSA. Even though they aren’t big enough to supply UCLAs entire demand, they can provide some of the produce.

To the vendors
To the Vendors

From the industrialized organic farms, the produce is then transferred to small distributers. The small distributers then work with larger distributors. UCLA work with these large distributers to make their daily purchases.

To ucla hedrick dining hall
To UCLA Hedrick Dining Hall

According to Robert Gilbert, the Sustainability Coordinator for Housing and Hospitality Services, some of the vendors UCLA deals with are SYSCO and World Produce.

Juvenal Solis, one of the Hedrick dining hall managers, informed me that most of the ingredients come packaged and already prepped.

The aftermath
The Aftermath

After the food is eaten, the food waste goes through the dining hall’s composting system (which consists of a pulping process). Hedrick doesn’t have a system yet. The system was put on trial in other halls. Since it worked so well in the other hall, they are going to put one in Hedrick too.

Athens Service, which is part of the LA food waste program, then picks up the compostable waste and brings it to a composting facility.

The carbon e mitted
The Carbon Emitted

  • Transportation creates a lot of CO2. It takes energy to transport the produce from the farm to the small distributor to the large distributor to UCLA to the composting site. Keep in mind this occurs everyday– the produce is ordered daily.

  • Most of the food comes processed or packaged and prepped. Fossil fuel is used to process all the food.

  • Cooking the food burns more fossil fuels as well.

  • Solutions?

    • UCLA could reduce their transportation footprint by buying locally and more organically. Less fossil fuel is burned growing &transporting the food.

    • They could buy their produce whole– not packaged and already prepped. It would take more work, but it would save a lot of energy.

    • If possible, it would be best not to buy from industrialized farms. An example of an industrialized farm is Earthbound (in Omnivore’s Dilemma). They produce large amounts of produce, but in an unsustainable way. They use some pesticide (because it’s grown in a monoculture way) and the compost they use is made elsewhere. In addition, they use machines to pick,prep, and package the lettuce, making it easy and fast to eat.

The bright side
The Bright Side

The organic salad bar is doing its part to help the environment and local businesses. It’s sustainable and most of it is grown in California. Improvements can be made by buying more locally grown produce directly from the local farmers.

Similar to the FarmtoCollege Program Results

Increasing sustainable efforts
Increasing Sustainable Efforts

  • Tray-less Hedrick Dining Hall

    • Reduce the water needed to wash the trays, saving hundreds of gallons of water

    • Beef-less Thursdays

    • Cattle emit large amounts of greenhouse gases and enormous amounts of water

    • Healthier for people in general to eat less red meat because they’re high in saturated fat

So in summary
So In Summary…


Small Vendor

Large Vendor

Hedrick Dining Hall

Compost Site