Vertical Aeroponic Gardens Debut at Oglethorpe Dining Commons
Oglethorpe Dining Commons has introduced six new Tower Gardens®, a self-watering and self-contained aeroponic vertical gardening system. Vertical aeroponics allow fruits, vegetables, herbs, leafy greens and edible flowers to be grown on campus. With each garden having an efficient 30-inch footprint, the seedlings are grown with 100% organic non GMO seeds. With aeroponic technology and specially formulated nutrients, plants grow 2-3 weeks faster than plants growing in the soil. Due to the vertical design and recirculation of water in the system, the gardens also use 95% less water and 90% less land than traditional gardening.
Dining Services plans to look at the feasibility of incorporating some of the crops into select menus once they are harvested. Its first project, which began in September 2019, is the creation of limited-time special salads using ingredients from the Tower Gardens® at O-House and produce from the UGArden. These Campus Grown salads are periodically available at East Side Deli, located in Joe Frank Harris, when new harvests arrive.
Certified Level One Green Restaurants®
The University of Georgia is proud that Bolton, Oglethorpe, Snelling, the Village Summit, and the Niche (Health Sciences Campus) are Certified Green Restaurants®, which means they have met the Green Restaurant Association’s rigorous environmental certification standards. Based on continuous sustainability efforts, in August 2019, these locations received Certified Level One Green Restaurant® status. We are proud of the environmental accomplishments that have brought us to this award and we are committed to continuing to improve our environmental practices by implementing new environmental steps in the future.
Blended Burgers on the Menu at Oglethorpe and the Niche
UGA Dining Services, with support from the Office of Sustainability, introduced Blended Burgers at O-House and the Niche (on the HSC) in the spring of 2019. Blended Burgers are a flavorful, sustainable and healthier blend of burger comprised of 70 percent beef and 30 percent roasted mushroom. Traditional burgers are available at Bolton, Snelling, and the Village Summit. Using mushrooms in a Blended Burger compliments the flavor and texture of the beef as they cook and add moisture to enhance the hamburger’s flavor. Beef-mushroom burgers can also be lower in calories and saturated fat than all-beef burgers, making them a healthier choice. In addition to providing nutrition benefits, replacing 30 percent of the beef in burgers with mushrooms reduces agricultural production-related greenhouse gas emissions, irrigation water demand and global agricultural land demand.