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Eco-Friendly Dining: Why We Source Local, Reduce Waste and Hire Chefs Passionate About the Environment

a chef uses sustainable ingredients to cook for residents at the Woodlands at Furman

You may have heard about the movement toward sustainable dining by eating locally sourced foods and reducing food waste as a way of helping the environment. But what do these concepts really mean? How does sustainable dining help our planet?

Healthier for the Earth and For You, Too

While we all love the idea of year-round availability of a wide variety of produce, the fact is that much of what we buy has traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach store shelves. Those trips by rail, truck and ship produce significant greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuels used to run them. Something else to consider is that in order to preserve the freshness of produce on these long travels, it is often highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale.

Here’s something else to think about: When we buy our produce, meats and eggs from far away, we turn our backs on local farmers who depend on selling what they produce to make their livelihoods.

This is why in many restaurants and in establishments such as The Woodlands at Furman retirement community in Greenville, South Carolina, chefs are making a conscious effort to offer sustainable dining and reduce their carbon footprint by sourcing their raw ingredients locally whenever possible.

Not only is this good for the environment, fresh-picked produce delivers higher quality and more nutrients. What’s more, according to WeAreAugustines.com, locally raised, sustainable meats contain important nutrients and vitamins, including Vitamin E, beta carotene and essential omega-3 fatty acids, and is far less prone to hazards caused by contamination and foodborne pathogens like E. coli.

How Chefs at The Woodlands Keep It Local —and Tasty

Hiring chefs who not only know how to create delectable menus, but who are also eco- conscious and committed to sustainable dining  is important to us at The Woodlands at Furman. Our talented kitchen staff are firm believers that local, seasonal food is not only fresher and tastes better, it’s also good for our environment and our local economy. In fact, at least 20% of our ingredients come from small farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food producers within 150 miles of Greenville.

The saying “waste not, want not” is also adhered to with pride in The Woodlands’ kitchen. The USDA estimates that, in the United States, between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply is thrown out due to spoilage, overordering of raw ingredients, overpreparation, and other factors. Our chefs prepare food in small batches, so the last person served experiences the same high-quality meal as the first one served. We cook only what’s needed, which reduces food waste and minimizes leftovers. It’s how we’re doing our part at The Woodlands to help meet the nationwide goal to cut our country’s food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.

The delicious result of our sustainable dining efforts is that residents of The Woodlands at Furman enjoy daily fare so extraordinary, it rivals the best restaurants. Variety abounds in our dining room thanks to a choice of food stations like the Hearth Oven, Carving Station, Sauté Station, fresh bakery, a colorful, well-stocked salad bar, bountiful buffet and more. And for private parties, residents can reserve the Conservatory, a beautiful dining space that opens to a terrace dotted with dining tables, pergolas with fans, and fire pits.

We’re Keeping a Seat at the Table for You

We’d like to invite you for a tour and a complimentary meal in our dining room so you can experience The Woodlands at Furman firsthand. Schedule a visit today and let us introduce you to the best retirement living in South Carolina!