Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.39
Liaison Laura Draucker
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Amherst College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Laura Draucker
Director of Sustainability
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

We are committed to:
–Maximizing the use of our own Book & Plow Farm
–Minimizing containers and packaging
–The use of compostable containers
–Recycling all single stream materials
–Post-consumer compost program
–Providing extra food to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

Book & Plow farm is a 8 acre vegetable farm on campus land. It supplies food to the dining hall and a CSA program on campus. Students participate as student farmers.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

Our Book & Plow farm has a CSA for our campus community and campus neighbors.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

Complete Vegan and Vegetarian offerings are available in all venues, all menus and all service periods. We offer Vegan entrees at Lunch and Dinner every day, fresh raw and freshly cooked vegetables are offered at multiple stations throughout the serving areas, and we offer a Vegan dessert for lunch and dinner every day.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

All of our campus wide events are deliberately low impact. We serve bulk water with compostable cups. All of our disposable paper products are compostable and compost bins are made available at all events.

We are working on a Meatless Monday initiative that has been driven by Student interest.

We also host an annual Local Vendor Fair. These vendors are all from within 100 miles. This event is intended to highlight the importance of supporting local businesses and reducing the carbon footprint of products coming to our campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

We host an event called Farm Fest, which highlights the harvest of our own Book & Plow Farm. This event is open to our entire Campus Community.

We also hosted an event highlighting our Fair Trade Coffee Vendor, which is located within 100 miles of our campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

We label all of our products that are sourced locally with an “Eat Local” image. This helps inform our guests which items are sourced within 150 miles.
We have signs which articulate our compost and recycling programs. The signs are intended to educate our guests how to dispose of their products appropriately and help guests to understand what steps we are taking to promote sustainable dining.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

Our Dining Program participates in the annual Health and Wellness Fair, and our Nutrition Website, “AC Nutrition," helps guests to make healthy choices.
Our Sustainability Program is offering a presentation from Soul Fire Farm regarding Sustainable Food Systems on February 8th, 2018.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

Our dining hall hosts multiple World Cuisine events, highlighting cuisines from places such as Peru or Ethiopia. We also regularly have culturally diverse food options, rotating Moroccan, Indian, and Polish meals (for example) into our schedule.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

Dining services use a software program called FSS (Food Systems Suite) that coordinates our purchases and production to past performance and forecast to minimize our waste. Recipes are generated to produce specifically to estimated need. The information entered comes from the actual weighing and measurement of usage and remaining product to continually make improvements to the management of our food resources.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

We retain some trays to ensure accessibility and accommodations for people who may need them, but they are not widely used or available; most diners do not use trays, and there are posters around the dining hall to encourage trayless dining. We also added more drinks, silverware, and waste stations to increase the ease of going trayless.

Portions are managed by dining hall staff and by the Menu Management Software to reduce post-consumer food waste, and educational posters and information on the website encourage students to reduce waste.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

Dining services works closely with Kate's Kitchen and the Amherst Survival Center to donate extra food, and donates their over-production and over-purchase (end of school year) at times throughout the year. Leftover food from our Frost Cafe is given to students in the library each night when the cafe closes.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Our food waste is recovered pre- and post-consumer. Both sources are diverted to our composting program which is hauled away to create rich soil products for farming and gardening. Our oil waste is picked up and used for industrial purposes.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Dining services composts all of its production trim that does not have secondary usage. Much of the production trim, however, is dedicated to product such as vegetable stocks through a scratch program.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

Culinary overproduction that cannot be re-purposed is weighed/measured and recorded and then composted. Customer food waste is generally composted through a friendly sorting system in the breakdown area near the exit. Our Dining Hall and retail locations utilize compost bins and signs to educate guests about which items go in each of the receptacles.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

Washable wares such as china, glass, BPA free plastic ware, stainless flatware are used within the Dining Hall. We strongly encourage our guests to utilize these options to minimize the use of paper products. Catered events and cash operations have both compostable goods for take-out and washable for dine-in.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

All disposable wares presented for “to-go” options as well as campus wide events such as Commencement and Reunions are compostable. Bulk water is generally supplied to eliminate bottled use; all packaging is recycled.

Our Grab n Go program uses only compostable and recyclable packaging. We have reduced and eliminated items in favor of bulk items that are packaged by our team so we can focus on our compostable packaging initiative.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

Discounts are offered in our cash operations on coffee when reusable thermal travel coffee mugs are brought in by customers. Dining services provides a complimentary reusable mug to every first-year student as well as other customers. Reusable grocery bags for our Grab-n-Go dining option are also complimentary to students.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

Dining services operates training and coaching of production teams to improve their performance. Additionally, small batch cooking, portion management, re-purposing of left-overs on a dedicated station in the dining hall, and green chemical use all contribute to waste minimization efforts. Dining services also encourages and educates on the importance of tray-less dining.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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