Smith College Signs 'Real Food Challenge'

The college signed onto the Real Food Challenge in October 2016, pledging 20 percent of the food provided on campus will meet sustainability and fairness standards set by the Real Food Challenge organization by 2020. Students, whom the college's president credits for leading the effort to get Smith to join the Real Food Challenge, have been working for three years to research food practices and raise awareness of sustainable food issues on campus.

Rice U Dining Halls Receive Sustainable Restaurant Certification

All six of the university's undergraduate dining halls were recently named Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. The Green Restaurant Association evaluates restaurants and awards points in seven sustainability categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, sustainable food, energy, reusables and environmentally preferable disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.

Dalhousie U Adopts Sustainable Food Plan

The newly released framework from the university's Food Services and Office of Sustainability supports and adheres to the vision and principles identified in the Dalhousie University Sustainability Plan. The plan is primarily focused on but not limited to the food procurement, preparation, kitchen operation and end use, for which there are 11 goals spanning these four areas.

Sacred Heart U Earns REAL Certification

The university earned the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification from United States Healthful Food Council for its foodservice providers' commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.

U Saskatchewan Plants Rooftop Garden

The urban garden project currently underway is part of the university's Department of Plant Sciences, through which a class on urban food production is offered. The food is sold to Culinary Services, who supplies food waste back to the university's compost that is used in the garden to create a closed loop.

North Carolina State U Welcomes Aquaponics to Student Union

Thanks to the NC State Sustainability Fund, the university's Talley Student Union is now home to a student-designed and maintained, 800-gallon aquaponics system, a closed-loop food production method, featuring a tank of up to 15 fish and two shallow planting containers that will grow tomatoes and salad greens in water.

U Virginia Dining Partners with Student-Led Agricultural Organization

Starting in fall 2016, the new partnership enables students to use their meal plans to choose between the pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes available from Greens to Grounds, a nonprofit, student-run agricultural organization that is dedicated to making fresh, local food accessible to students.

Indiana U-Purdue U to Obtain Zero Waste Athletic Facility

The university's Natatorium will be ready to operate as a zero-waste athletic facility in June, becoming the first athletic facility in Indiana to achieve zero-waste goals and hosting the first Olympic event to have the zero-waste designation. Being a zero-waste venue means that by weight, 90 percent of all waste must be recycled or composted. Only 10 percent may be disposed of as trash.

Northern Arizona U Begins Food Scrap Composting

In addition to implementing the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge that diverts and tracks organic waste and the Food Recovery Network that helps move food to food banks, a new student-led collaboration at the university yielded machines that grind and dehydrate food waste so that it can be more easily composted and used in campus landscaping.

U California Los Angeles Becomes Fair Trade University

Fair Trade Colleges and Universities announced that after three years of working on the designation, the university received the title of Fair Trade University. The process involved forming a committee, offering Fair Trade products through campus dining outlets, and catering and hosting educational events on campus.

NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners

The National Association of College & University Food Services announced the 2016 awardees for its four categories. Outreach and Engagement winners are Brown University Dining Services (Gold), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Silver) and Virginia Tech University (Bronze). Waste Management winners are Princeton University (Gold), Colorado State University (Silver) and Johnson County Community College (Bronze). Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Procurement Practices category are, respectively, Harvard University Dining Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Green Champion Student winner is Sarah Leann Ross at Colorado State University.

Tennessee Technological U Becomes REAL Certified

The REAL, or Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership, Certification from the United States Healthful Food Council uses a points-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians and is based on nutritional benefit, food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices.

Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant

University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Washington U St. Louis Releases Report on Bottled Water Ban

The new report indicates that bottled beverage sales at the university have plummeted 39 percent since 2009, a reduction of 567,000 bottles in the 2014-15 academic year relative to the 2008-09 academic year. The school initiated the ban as part of its comprehensive efforts to reduce its environmental impact.

Cornell U Hosts Diet Education Events

The university will have a series of events designed to help participants improve their diet and reduce carbon emissions associated with food. The events will feature plant-based dishes and prizes for attendees.

Brandeis U Hosts Food and Sustainability Dialogue

Students recently organized a series of panel discussions for interested participants to discuss what role food choices can make in fighting climate change. Called the Brandeis Food Tank: The Think Tank on Food and Sustainability, the series explored food production, insecurity, waste, diets and education.

EPA 2015 Food Recovery Challenge Announces Regional Winners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the five universities winners of the 2015 Food Recovery Challenge as California State University, Northridge; Northern Arizona University; Rochester Institute of Technology; University of Arizona; and University of California, Davis. These institutions pledged to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.

Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices

Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.

Boston Globe Covers Sustainable Seafood on College Campuses

The recent Boston Globe article points out a growing demand for and willingness to try local, lesser known seafood, which has caught the attention of many college dining services managers and food contractors.

Lehigh U Restaurant Earns Green Certification

Sodexo-operated Rathbone Student Restaurant has officially been named a two-star certified green restaurant after meeting environmental standards of The Green Restaurant Association. The standards provide a way to measure a restaurant’s environmental accomplishments, while providing a path for next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.

Washington State U Becomes Marine Stewardship Council Certified

As of February, the school became the first university in Washington state, and one of a dozen institutions of higher education around the country, to obtain the certification, which means that seafood products are sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate.

U Delaware Implements Meatless Monday

As part of its commitment to provide students, faculty and staff with healthy, sustainable fare, the university's Dining Services now offers meat-free meals daily and will participate in Meatless Monday by increasing awareness of available meatless options on campus.

Sterling College Reports 76 Percent Sustainable Food

The college, known for growing 20 percent of its own food, was recently honored by Real Food Challenge for growing or procuring 76 percent of its food that is local, sustainable, humane and fair-trade. According to Real Food Challenge, the next highest ranked institution eats only 34 percent "real food". The Real Food Challenge survey the college used to determine its "real food" content also revealed the college eats 54 percent local food, defined as food that comes from either large farms within a 150-mile radius of campus or small farms within a 250-mile radius.

Portland State U Reduces Food Waste Through Visual Display

The Food Waste Buffet is a new initiative of the university's Campus Sustainability Office and Aramark that is aimed at educating students about healthy, responsible eating and reducing rood waste. A display of all uneaten food from students' lunch plates, the Food Waste Buffet was also accompanied by an intervention program that encouraged students to ask for a sample before deciding to get a whole serving.

Chatham U Farm Receives Organic Certification

The university’s Eden Hall Farm has received a Certificate of Organic Operation from Pennsylvania Certified Organic, which guarantees that the farm is compliant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program and that products grown on the farm meet all organic standards. This certification allows Eden Hall campus to continue its expansion as a teaching tool for students interested in organic certification and for local growers wanting to know more about the certification process.

U California Davis Becomes REAL Certified

The United States Healthful Food Council recently announced that the university is the second university in the U.S. to be audited and certified for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). Modeled after USGBC LEED, REAL Certified uses a point-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians, based on nutritional benefit, food preparation that enhances food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices. Stanford University was the first REAL Certified university.

U Northern British Columbia Students Contribute Lab-Grown Greens to Market

Through the university's Undergraduate Research Experience award, two environmental studies students grew micro-greens that were featured at the university's farmers' market.

U Alberta Introduces New Program for Food Vendors

The new program called Green Spaces offers certification to food vendors that help the university divert 1,500 tons of organic material annually and reduce waste overall. Some actions vendors can take to receive certification include sending composting kitchen scraps, sorting recycling and waste appropriately and eliminating polystyrene takeout containers.

Harvard U Procures 120,000 Pounds of Massachusetts-Grown Tomatoes

Thanks to a partnership with six local farms, 120,000 pounds of state-grown tomatoes, in the form of 14,000 gallons of healthy, low-sodium marinara sauce, are now dressing dishes on plates across campus.

Boston U Dining Services Releases 2015 Sustainability Report

The new report presents the results of a fall 2014 student survey and outlines measurable progress. During the last year, Dining Services created the Wholesome Roots program focused on offering grass-fed ground beef, using Humane Certified, antibiotic-free chicken, and sourcing locally grown food.

Penn State U Pilots Trayless Dining

In an attempt to reduce the current food waste amount from 138 pounds of food per meal, the university's Findlay Dining Commons, an all-you-can-eat facility, will offer plates and bowls instead of trays and allow students to return to the buffet repeatedly.

Georgia State U Dining Halls Garner 'Green Restaurant' Certification

Two university dining halls were recently certified as a 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association by implementing 54 steps in the areas of disposables, energy, food, furnishings and building materials, pollution and chemical reduction, waste and water usage.

U Maryland Provides Reusable Cups to Students

This year, the university's Dining Services decided to supply students with dining plans (over 8,000) with a reusable cup that can be used at any campus dining hall and convenience shop for unlimited tea, coffee and fountain beverages.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Dining Receives Sustainability Award

The university was recently named the grand prize winner in the National Association of College & University Food Services' 2015 Sustainability Awards competition, which honors colleges and universities that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of sustainability specifically in dining services.

Virginia Tech Rolls Out Reusable To-Go Containers

Upon arrival this semester, students received a reusable to-go container made from sugar cane that can be used in three dining centers. The distribution of reusable containers is an effort to reduce the usage of disposables and the amount of waste generated on campus.

Indiana U Debuts Farmers Market

Aligned with the university's participation in the Real Food Challenge, the campus community can now purchase locally grown produce at a weekly farmers market.

Stanford U Dining Becomes REAL Certified

The United States Healthful Food Council recently announced that Stanford has become the nation's first campus dining program to obtain the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification. Honored for its commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship, the university was evaluated on whole-foods use, portions, behavioral components and procurement.

Northwestern U Signs Real Food Commitment

First university in the Big Ten to sign a campus commitment to increase the percentage of "real food", the commitment calls for 20 percent of the university's dining hall food to meet the Real Food Challenge's definition of real food, defined as ecologically sound, community-based, humanely produced or fair trade.

Local Food Connects U Kentucky Campus to the Commonwealth

University Dining partners with local farmers and producers to deliver that fresh, home-grown experience to a campus with more than 30,000 students and 14,000 employees. As the university and Aramark forged a 15-year, $245 million partnership last year to transform dining services, the opportunity to support Kentucky farmers and processors expanded.

Cornell U Students Initiate Food Recovery Network Chapter

On a weekly basis, students take leftover prepared food from a university dining facility and a marketplace to food pantries across the county in an effort to address food insecurity issues.

Fitchburg State U Removes Drinking Straw Option

(U.S.): In an attempt to improve waste reduction, recycling and composting, the university removed the straws, which are hard to spot when conducting post-consumer, dish room garbage separation.

Skidmore College Attains MSC Chain of Custody Certification

(U.S.): Haddock, pollock and cod at certain on-campus dining locations are now Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certified, which ensures that the seafood can be traced back to a fishery that has been certified as sustainable and well-managed against the global, science-based MSC standard.

Portland State U to Increase Local Food Procurement

Under the new amendment developed by the Campus Sustainability Office and the university's food services provider, Aramark, PSU Dining will increase total local and third-party certified food expenditures each by 5 percent annually, based on purchases made in 2014.

Temple U Students Open Campus Cafe Serving Local, Organic Food

The new student-operated, cooperative cafe serving local, organic, budget-friendly and vegetarian food was birthed from a group of environmental studies students in their senior research seminar.

U Maryland Releases Farm to Food Truck Video

The newly released video spotlights the university's food truck that serves food from campus' farm, which hosts students to learn about farming.

U Utah Joins Real Food Commitment

Thanks to members of the campus community, the recently signed commitment means that University Dining Services will spend at least 20 percent of their total food purchases on real food, defined as local, nutritional, ecologically sound, humane and/or fair, by 2020, nearly doubling its current level.

Lehigh U Holds Seafood Awareness Event

In an effort to raise awareness of the impact from sushi's high demand, the university's Sustainability Office organized the reduced waste event in which students made their own sushi rolls, and learned about where the food came from and its ranking in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

U Albany Recognizes Importance of Local Food

(U.S.): The university showcased its commitment to locally sourced foods through its participation in the inaugural Campus Crunch in which students, faculty and staff joined colleagues at 17 other schools and colleges across New York State to emphasize how universities can work with regional farms to promote sustainable food production.

U California Santa Cruz Converts to Staff Served Plates

(U.S.): Shifting from self-service, the new dining service was recently introduced in an attempt to minimize uneaten food scraps being sent to the university's compost facility. Preliminary measurements indicate a reduction of leftover food on plates.

U Oklahoma Students Request Real Food

Building on university Housing and Food's commitment to create a better food system, Students Against a Factory-Farming Economy sought signatures for the Real Food Campus Commitment, which asks for a university pledge to make 20 percent of all food sold on campus Real Food-certified by 2020.