Food Sustainability In Practice At The Frick Environmental Center

May 11, 2018 by Maureen Olinzock

If you've grabbed a bite from a food truck at any of our Frick Environemental Center events , you may have noticed how quiet they are. The reason? When they visit the Center, food trucks such as Leon's Caribbean (pictured here) are not powered by a loud diesel generator like many of the food trucks that you may have visited.

Leon's Caribbean Food Truck at the Center

To stay true to the Living Building Challenge, we avoid burning fossil fuels for energy at the Center whenever possible - everything from food prep to powering the building.  

When we're planning events, we work closely with food vendors to make events as green and sustainable as possible by:

  • Only permitting the use of fossil fuels for direct food preparation. While you will still be able to enjoy BBQ, wood-fired pizza, or smoked brisket, you won't see trucks here using anything but renewable resources to power their lights, refrigeration, and fans.
  • Emphasizing waste reduction. Vendors serve in easily separable, compostable or recyclable containers. No Styrofoam here!
  • Supporting minority- and women-owned businesses and those that offer regional and sustainable food.

To make it easier for food trucks to learn about our site requirements, and how they can improve their environmental sustainability in general, we are working with a group of Sustainability in Action students at Chatham University to think about ways food trucks and food service can be greener! Groups of students in Professor Debbie DeLong’s Sustainability in Action class will:

  • Survey customers online or in person to see if sustainable features in the food industry are important, valued, or rewarded; then summarize what they discover. Share your thoughts by taking the survey here.
  • Analyze Sustainable Pittsburgh’s existing restaurant and small business certifications to determine which actions may apply to mobile food trucks, too
  • Collaborate with Pennsylvania Resources Council to incorporate ideas that emphasize waste reduction in food service Learn from Zero Fossil about opportunities and challenges to powering food equipment, lighting, refrigeration, and other needs
  • Learn about the Living Building Challenge, and think about how this relates to food truck requirements at the Frick Environmental Center
  • Spend a week researching, crunching numbers, and strategizing to determine personalized recommendations for greening a food service operation

The next time you visit the Frick Environmental Center for a large event, make sure to thank the on-site food truck for all of their hard work promoting sustainable mobile food!

Frick Environmental Center