When the Baltimore Convention Center was approached by Dr. Aurora Benton of Astrapto to become one of two facilities in the country to participate in the “HOTEL I Kitchen Food Waste Reduction” pilot program we jumped at the opportunity.
The goals and ideals behind the program were a match for Two of the cornerstones of our environmental policy: Waste Management & Reduction, and Diversion and Involvement in the Community. In fact, the possibilities of the program would allow the Center to move these platforms forward and innovate in ways that were previously unimaginable.
The project team engaged the Center, Centerplate, and Visit Baltimore employees and developed:
•Training of onsite management and staff to be more knowledgeable about food waste efforts
•Regular food waste audits and establishment of food waste measurement and tracking protocols
•Creation of a food donation policy to increase donations for feeding the hungry
•Repurposing ‘waste’ into innovative new employee lunch menus
•The piloting of a food scraps donation program to benefit a nearby pig farm
•Experimentation with the latest composting and diversion technologies
Utilizing this training partnerships were formed with local non-profit organizations that helped the Center and Centerplate reduce waste utilizing the tenants of the Food Recovery Hierarchy.Feeding Hungry People was the easiest tenant to expand upon. Utilizing data bases run by local organizations that put ready to eat food product in the hands of non profits that feed the hungry was an easy transition. We were able to also take a look at the way our food services partner feeds its own staff, saving both food and money. Executive Chef Josh Distenfeld has been able to save close to $5,000 per month on the employee lunch program utilizing tactics learned about over ordering and repurposing during training.
The tenant of Feeding Animals was made possible by connecting with local farmer Gaylord Clark of Carriage House Farms, less than 20 minutes outside of Baltimore. The Center began a program that provides animal feed to the farm, in addition to, providing soil and soil amendment for crops. In 2018 the Center donated a total of 5,534 lbs. of feed to the farm, which helped in reducing our composting from 25,756 lbs. in 2017 to 6,899 lbs. Instead of composting food, the inclusion of these programs allowed us to move UP the food hierarchy feeding both people and animals.
On Wednesday, July 11th from 1pm to 5pm the Baltimore Convention Center hosted a workshop in conjunction with Centerplate, Astrapto , and Plisko Sustainable Solutions, where valuable information was shared with the local hospitality community about methodologies on food waste reduction strategies, technologies, and services that can be used to address the food vulnerable populations in Baltimore. The event also featured an expo with local makers, growers, and companies who offer sustainable solutions for the hospitality industry. Over 80 attendees from nearby hotels and other facilities joined the workshop. To learn more about the passion and drive behind this initiative for a look at our video.