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New York City Schools Achieve Certification by Green Restaurant Association

The kitchen and dining room are one of the biggest users of energy on school campuses. So, it stands to reason that reduction of energy, natural resources and material use in these areas goes a long way towards reducing a school’s impact on the environment.

Seven New York City independent schools are doing just that. Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Friends Seminary, Horace Mann School, The Dalton School, The Hewitt School, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School and Grace Church School have partnered with their foodservice provider, Flik Independent School Dining, to achieve Certification by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA).

Founded in 1990 with the goal of helping the restaurant industry to reduce its environmental impact by providing tools to encourage sustainability, the GRA is a national non-profit organization that offers a rigorous Certification program requiring foodservice operators to meet minimum criteria in seven environmental categories, including water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.

Meeting these criteria on the school campus requires collaboration between the administration and its foodservice provider, and the changes made are specific to each school, depending on which criteria they are already meeting.

“The GRA has been Certifying restaurants for two decades,” says Michael Oshman, Founder and CEO of the Green Restaurant Association. “The more schools that know about the GRA’s Certification program, the more that will take similar steps to reduce the environmental impact of their foodservice operations.”

Let’s hope this is a trend that catches on and spreads throughout New York City and across the nation.

Note: Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Friends Seminary, Horace Mann School, The Dalton School, The Hewitt School have completed Certification. Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School and Grace Church School are currently working towards certification.

About the Contributor: Rachel Begun, M.S., R.D., Principal of Rachel Begun Nutrition Communications, is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the areas of food, culinary and nutrition education.

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