|Submission Date||March 23, 2016|
IN-1: Innovation 1
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of the President
Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :
In an effort to further support local producers and to connect Denison faculty, students, and staff with high quality, local and responsibly sourced foods the Big Red Buyers Club was created. Utilizing the connections and buying power of Bon Appétit, Denison’s dining service provider, gives the Denison community access to the same local coffee, cheese, yogurt, milk, beans, whole grains and cereal, salsa, syrups, pasta, flour, chocolate, candy, and gluten-free snacks that are served in the dining halls. By focusing on year round staple items, the Buyers Club complements the local produce already available at biweekly farmers’ markets without competing with them.
The inspiration for the buyer’s club was threefold: 1) add more support to Denison’s Farm to Fork partners, 2) make it easier for members to be conscientious consumers, and even 3) help shape and support better eating and buying habits on the Denison campus. College is often the first time students cook for themselves in any significant way, and by providing them with convenient, affordable access to foods that happened to be healthy, local, and sustainable, the Bon Appétit team hoped to set them on the path to lifelong conscientious eating.
The Club was started as part of an Environmental Studies senior project initiated by Jen Curry ’15 and Emily Marguerite ’15. They worked with S.K. Piper, Bon Appétit’s Sustainability Manager at Denison to launch the club. Anyone at Denison can create an online account on the university’s CaterTrax site, and once they pay the membership fee, they receive access to the buyer’s club menu. They can order and pay online, then pick up their order biweekly at the Slayter Student Union on campus.
In addition to these efforts, Bon Appetit/Denison Dining is getting a wholesale license to allow it more flexibility to source local products. One of the challenges to local and responsible sourcing of foods is overcoming additional costs of products without passing those on to students who are already feeling the financial pressures of college affordability. Bon Appetit has secured a wholesale license that will allow it to sell some f the food stuffs it obtains from local sources to other local restaurants and entities. This is beneficial in two important ways. First, it allows Bon Appetit to maintain positive and productive relationships with producers even when the college is not in session. These producers do not have to deal with seasonal fluctuations of our need - when we are not in session we sell those products to other local restaurants so they can increase their local food offerings and they get the added benefit of utilizing Bon Appetit's discounted volume pricing.
The second big benefit is that it allows us to switch to things like local chicken which is more expensive, except if we are able to buy the whole bird. We don't necessarily need the whole bird, so we take the cuts we need and then can sell things like bones - to make stock; and wings to local restaurants. In the end, it allows us to break even on the cost difference between local and traditional sourcing.
A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):
This program effectively increases the local and responsible food spend associated with the college.
The program allows more local businesses to source from local farms and that further supports our regional food system while also building strong positive relationships with vendors and producers.
We can also measure and track the number of students, faculty, and staff that are regularly utilizing local food options.
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
|Yes or No|
|Air & Climate||No|
|Coordination, Planning & Governance||No|
|Diversity & Affordability||No|
|Health, Wellbeing & Work||Yes|
Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :