Plastic trays, wasted food, giant freezers. These are all common things found on college campuses across the country, but not at Rio Salado College’s Tempe, AZ campus. In 2010 Café@Rio opened not only to nourish the growing student population, but also to teach sustainability while investing in the local economy.
Café@Rio accomplishes this by partnering up with local farmers and also by using produce grown on campus by students who are part of the Sustainable Food Systems Program. The program offers students the chance to study in the literally and figuratively growing field of sustainable food. Certificate and degree programs include a Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Food Systems and an Associate in Applied Science in Sustainable Food Systems.
Michael Hodgins, the Director of Sustainable Foods Systems/Café @ Rio at Rio Salado began locating sustainable farmers, ranchers and artisans, debunking the notion that “nothing grows in the desert,” in order to create the innovative program that will generate the future workforce of sustainable cooking.
The Café @ Rio’s sustainable features:
- Energy efficient appliances
- Tray-less dining
- Compostable and recyclable food/beverage containers
- Interior decorated with environmentally friendly paints and adhesives
Café@Rio also offers a recipe of the day, live cooking demonstrations, catering and events.