Despite the focus on food, sustainability is often overlooked

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Jonathan Garza

Campus executive chef Robert Mayberry harvests some vegetables from the Kingsolving garden Tuesday afternoon. The success of Kingsolving’s garden has led to the creation of a new garden in Jester this past September and the creation of Green Corps, an organization to help harvest and maintain both residence hall gardens. 

Amil Malik

In the United States, there’s a huge focus on food and diet. We spend a lot of money on products in both categories. In 2013, U.S. consumers, businesses and government entities spent $1.4 trillion on food and beverages in grocery stores and other retailers, as well as on away-from-home meals. This year, consumers are expected to spend over $38 billion on diet and weight loss products and services, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Yet, despite the money we spend, we’re not any healthier as a nation. Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40 percent of total daily calories for 2 to 18-year-olds. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza and whole milk.

Nor do we focus on where the leftover food goes — yes, I’m referring to the waste. 

So this edition of the Forum has a dual focus — healthy eating and sustainable food initiatives — featuring a Q-and-A with campus Executive Chef Robert Mayberry and a piece from Jacklyn Kachelmeyer, director of the Campus Environmental Center, regarding the new composting program in the Union.

Malik is a Plan II, business honors and finance junior from Austin. Follow Malick on Twitter @amil_malick94