By Staff Writer Kira Bruce
This past year, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Eastern Connecticut State University have all been awarded two grants of $250,000 to increase sustainability in our on campus dining!
The Kendall Foundation who awarded this large sum of money to us is trying to get more campuses involved in a sustainable way to look at food. The Kendall Foundation’s website says this about the goal they are trying to reach, “[a goal] of the project is to raise awareness of the unique challenges of local fishermen, similar to the recent increased understanding of the challenges faced by local farmers brought about by the Farm-to-Table movement.”
This is regarding the underutilized fish program we have seen in the dining hall. The dining hall is now serving underutilized fish such as Scup, Dogfish, Monkfish, and Red Fish. 75% of the fish at the aforementioned campuses will be locally sourced underutilized fish!
This is a huge deal, fish such as cod and salmon are being over fished. This is drastically reducing their population. Many people don’t want to eat these other types of fish that are less popular but it is really good for the environment.
There is some skepticism though. Dogfish are listed as a critically endangered species and Red fish are endangered as well. So why should we trade one endangered species for another? Dogfish are just as critical to the oceanic ecosystem as cod or salmon is.
The part of this project funded by the Kendall Foundation that I think could actually help the environment a lot, is kelp farming. Kelp is edible, it’s a CO2 sink and it can be made into plastic substitutes.
Kelp is actually so delicious and versatile. You can put it in soup you can eat it raw, you can dry it out and make it a chip! Anything you want kelp can be.
Also, having kelp forests in the ocean is great because it cleans the water. Kelp absorbs CO2 from the water and atmosphere. And, it makes a great habitat for fish to live in. For a long time the number of kelp forests in the ocean declined rapidly, this project will help plant more forests in the ocean!
Another great thing kelp can be used for is plastic substitution. Kelp can be manufactured into straws, bags, Tupperware, you name it!
This project can be great for sustainability on campus so consider trying some kelp and monkfish next time you’re in res!