Durham College (DC) announced today that its Centre for Food (CFF), located at the Whitby campus, has been named a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant®. The certification builds on the CFF’s previous 2 Star rating, which was awarded by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a non-profit organization that guides restaurants on becoming more environmentally sustainable, in 2014.
The rating applies to a total of nine CFF spaces, including Bistro ’67, the college’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant; Pantry, a unique retail store that brings student-created goods straight from the field to the culinary classroom and on to the community; the large quantities, culinary and culinary baking kitchens; the wine-tasting/mixology lab; the food distribution centre; the lecture demonstration theatre; and the banquet hall.
“This advancement from Durham College’s previous 2 Star rating, received only two years ago, is a credit to the incredible work of everyone at the CFF in conjunction with our Sustainability office as we work to integrate both field-to-fork and environmental sustainability into all aspects of the CFF’s operations,” said Kevin Baker, principal, Centre for Food. “It’s also a powerful demonstration of the college’s dedication to environmental leadership and I am proud of our commitment to teaching students by example how they can go on to incorporate sustainability into their careers, workplaces and personal lives post-graduation.”
The CFF received 177.03 GreenPoints™ in recognition of implementing 63 environmental steps across the categories of energy, water, waste, disposables, chemicals and pollution, food, and buildings and materials, marking a 40-per cent increase in points over the centre’s initial GRA certification. Points were awarded in recognition of numerous sustainable features including:
- A two-storey living wall herb garden
- On-site food production, use of local produce and offering of vegan and vegetarian main dishes
- A comprehensive recycling program that includes food waste in order to reduce the CFF’s carbon footprint
- A hydration station for filling reusable water bottles
- Use of compostable take-out containers
- Low-flow toilets, touchless sensor faucets and waterless urinal technology
“Our new 3 Star rating is a true reflection of what we’re doing with eco-focused facility improvements, practices and standards at the CFF,” said Michelle Darling, senior project manager, DC, who oversees the college’s Sustainability office. “We’ve made incredible progress in a short period of time, and achievements like this keep both employees and students motivated as we continue to green DC.”
Focused on the field-to-fork concept, which is based on the harvesting, storing, processing, packaging, sale and consumption of food – in particular the production of local food for local consumers, the CFF opened to students in September 2013. Supported by ambassador and celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy, it boasts numerous sustainable building features in addition to those identified by the GRA. These include a glass curtain wall to maximize natural light, a fully automated building controls management system, occupancy sensors and the use of safer hand soaps.
The CFF’s grounds feature an apple orchard, agricultural planting fields, gardens and greenhouses that support academic applied-learning and research while growing fruits, vegetables and other produce for use in its kitchens, laboratories and Bistro ’67. Production methods have low environmental impact, demonstrate water stewardship and result in reduced energy consumption.
The south side of the building includes a ramped garden feature with a pollinator garden for native birds, bees and butterflies and planning for a two-acre arboretum is underway. This will see the planting of more than 200 species of trees, shrubs, perennials and fruit-bearing plants, providing a teaching and learning environment for students, the local agri-food industry, community organizations and the general public.
DC faculty and students are also collaborating on unique, agri-focused applied research projects at the CFF, including the development of cold-frame technology, which harnesses the sun’s energy to support the growth of fresh, local produce year-round, and the improvement of drones’ data-collecting capabilities to help local farmers with crop management.
Able to accommodate 900 students, the CFF is home to the college’s Horticulture – Food and Farming, Horticulture Technician, Culinary Management, Culinary Skills, Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts, Event Management, Hospitality – Hotel and Tourism Operations Management, Hospitality Skills and Special Events Planning programs.