I have to admit when I saw the headline University serves carbon-neutral lettuce" in the National Restaurant Association Smartbrief, I was dubious. After hearing many claims of carbon-neutrality that are achieved through offsets or even, the latest trend, products being pitched as carbon-negative, my antennae went up. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I read the details. According the story in the local paper, Colorado State University really is serving carbon-neutral lettuce.
The lettuce is grown in unheated greenhouses using organic compost and then transported to the cafe by bicycle. There are no fossil fuels used in the process.
Later this month, they anticipate having to heat the greenhouse, no longer making the lettuce carbon neutral, so they will shut down the program, source lettuce elsewhere and restart when the weather warms up again.
Right now they are only producing enough for one or two menu items but more importantly, they are teaching the students a real lesson in responsible food service.
– Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President