Sustainable Dining on the Menu at KaLex

Providing residents with a variety of delicious, healthy meal choices is an amenity that is an integral part of the community. “Kendal Values and Practices” also emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and ecological practices. This year, the community demonstrated this commitment by initiating a program to reduce the number of food containers contributing to the landfill.

Disposing of the Disposable

Residents enjoy dining in the beautiful, new Anderson Dining room utilizing dishware and silverware. In addition, many residents like taking lunch or dinner “to-go” to enjoy in the comfort of their apartment or cottage. This choice to “take out” is an option that residents appreciate. However, there was a concern about the number of to-go containers being used and thrown away.

With a commitment to sustainability, Kendal at Lexington eliminated disposable takeout products in the dining areas.

Residents on the “Food” and “Sustainability” committees jointly supported the decision to do away with environmentally detrimental paper products (700 pounds of which the average American uses each year!).

Everyone’s Doing Their Part

In turn, the whole KaLex community got behind the effort.

“The drive for greater sustainability has been working out really well,” said resident and food committee member Ruth Woodcock. “We’re all eager to do what we can,” added Ruth, one of the first residents to move into KaLex 22 years ago.

Replacing the disposable food containers are three-compartment, BPA-free containers and insulated mugs that residents were given to use when taking food back to their apartments and cottages. Residents can bring these containers back to be washed by the dining staff dishwashers, and a clean one is ready for them to pick up. Residents can also bring their own dishes or containers to take meals home.

“We can still get coffee, but now we bring our own cups. People feel good about doing their part,” said Ruth.

Remarking that purchasing paper products at KaLex ended in May (except for a small amount for emergencies), KaLex’s Culinary Director, Judy Kurtz, commented that going paperless is also more cost-effective.

Cooking Up Close Ties

In addition to affecting a more ecological way of dining, Judy aims to implement new trends in the dining room, such as pasta, potato, and omelet bars. Not only will this give residents more tasty and tailored food options, but they will also interact more with Kendal’s cooks and chef, she said.

Indeed, relationships between residents and staff are key at KaLex, and few places engender these kinds of bonds more than the dining areas. “Our culinary team loves their jobs and puts their heart into everything they do,” said Judy.

As for herself, she asserts, “The reason I come to work every day is because of how appreciative residents are for what we do. We recognize their gratitude and support; it’s very rewarding.”

With eco-friendly dining now on the table, Mother Earth can be thankful, too.

dining room staff thumbs up