An important part of every event is "getting people fed and watered" (as my mom would say). Aside from using as much local food as possible, there are a few other things to consider when organizing the food and beverage aspects of your event to be more environmentally friendly.
1. The # of Courses
The number of courses you serve will impact your eco-footprint. The more meals you serve may mean more transportation and definitely more dishwashing. For the least impact, limited the amount of courses you serve and choose a seated dinner rather than a buffet to limit the amount of dishes used.
2. The Bar
Serve just wine and beer and a signature drink or cocktail rather than a full bar. A full bar requires several different kinds of glasses. Also, limiting your bar stock helps save you money! Win-win.
3. Bottled Water
Ban bottled water to avoid the plastic and the energy required to deliever all those bottles. Consider water stations or water jugs on tables instead.
Reduce your food waste by offering leftover meals to the catering staff (if they don't already get it) or send them to a soup kitchen so that nothing is wasted. Make arrangements to have the scraps composted.
Host your event at a restaurant, cafe, or garden with a kitchen onsite. The less your caterers have to travel to deliver your food, the lower your eco-footprint.
Pick items that are in season and as close to home as possible. Not only will your food taste better, it will suit your theme of your event for the time of the year (ex. pumpkin soup in October).
Happy menu planning!