Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.16
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Green Mountain College
OP-6: Food Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.73 / 6.00 Philip Ackerman-Leist
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies,Director of the Farm and Food Project
Environmental Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of food expenditures that meet one or more of the criteria for this credit (0 - 100):

The Website URL where information about the institution's sustainable food procurement efforts is available:

Green Mountain College’s
Sustainable Food Purchasing Initiative
(in conjunction with Chartwell’s Dining Services)
Tracking Methods & Results:
STARS Submission: Dining Services
July 2011
Green Mountain College has created what may be the most rigorous “sustainable food”
assessment of any college in the United States. For the past five years, the College has
tracked invoices for every single food purchase made for its dining operations during the
academic year. Each year, faculty, staff, and students have worked to refine the
methodology and the criteria utilized to categorize these purchases. As a result of this
careful documentation and extensive research of its food sources, GMC has the ability to:
1. make precise claims as to the sustainability of the foods used in its dining
2. research options for increasing these food sources,
3. clarify the budgetary and sourcing challenges involved in furthering this
sustainable food purchasing initiative.
Each item purchased from every distributor is entered into a master spreadsheet. By
analyzing this spreadsheet at the end of each academic year, Green Mountain College is
able to determine the exact percentage of purchases that are organic and/or local (as
defined by STARS, as well as other metric systems) with accuracy and precision.
Green Mountain College is committed to sustainable agriculture and strives to serve local
and responsibly produced foods in the dining hall whenever possible. In addition to
offering a new masters program in Sustainable Food Systems, the College is nationally
known for its major in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Production, an academic program
that offers students the opportunity to work on the college’s on-campus farm. Through a
combination of coursework and experience working on the farm, students are able to
explore vegetable production, livestock management, development of farm infrastructure,
and marketing techniques as they take part in producing some of the vegetables, eggs,
and meats featured in the dining hall.
Along with Chartwells dining services, students and faculty have long been exploring
new ways to offer local, organic, and other sustainable food options. These efforts
became more formal after a nine-credit block course, entitled "Food, Agriculture, and
Community Development in the Northeast," was offered in the fall of 2006. Students and
three faculty members wrapped up the course by developing a set of sustainable
purchasing guidelines for the dining hall.
These sustainable purchasing guidelines provided the college with the following targets:
• To increase local food purchases by 5% of the total food budget each year over
the years 2007-2010
• To maximize the purchase of appropriately-certified products (such as organic
and fair-trade)
• To ensure that sustainable food products are prominently featured in the dining
• To develop methods for assessing and ensuring current and future progress
Summary of Findings for 2009-2010
In the 2009-2010 academic year, GMC’s Chartwells dining services purchased $6,425
dollars worth of produce and meat from the college farm to be served in the GMC dining
hall. The purchase of five pigs raised by students on the college farm prompted a
celebratory localvore feast which featured the pork and an array of seasonal vegetables
and other Vermont products. In addition to sourcing ingredients from the college farm,
Chartwells spent another $84,9741 in support of Vermont businesses. These sources
included Vermont-based producers such as Thomas Dairy and Champlain Orchards and
Vermont-based distributers and suppliers such as Black River Produce and Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters. These purchases represented 16% of the College’s total food
purchases. The College also strives to support local businesses in purchases of non-food
items such as linens and kitchenware.
Green Mountain strives to increase sustainable purchasing and uses small-scale New
England based distributors when logistically and financially feasible. In 2009-2010 Green
Mountain College spent $155,500 or 27%2 of the entire budget on products distributed by
New England based companies such as Sid Wainer, Black River, Green Mountain Coffee
Company. These companies are small and local, and as such can be more readily held
accountable in terms of environmental and social responsibility than some of the larger
and more inaccessible corporations. However, due to the college’s careful
documentation of its food sources, GMC recognizes that some of the products provided
by these regionally-based companies do not meet STARS guidelines. To be precise,
making the claim that 27% of the college’s food budget is STARS certified would be
approximately 13% too high. Some other colleges seem to be less assiduous in their
tracking and assessment and more readily inclined to categorize food items provided by
regional distributors as STARS certified, regardless of the actual origin/processing
location of those foods.
1 $84,974 includes all purchases from Black River Produce, Champlain Orchards, Green Mountain Coffee
Company, Koffee Kup Bakery, Sid Wainer, & Son Specialty Foods, Thomas Dairy, Vermont Roots, and
some purchases made using P-Card (credit card for Chartwells) and cash. Together with $6,423.75 spent on
produce from Cerridwen Farm, these purchases total $91,219.94, or 16% of total purchases.
2 $155,500 or 27% of the total food budget was spent on products sourced from distributors that are based
within 250 miles of the college. This number excludes third-party certified (organic, fair trade, etc) produce
that was sourced from distributors based farther than 250 miles from the college. $168,883.23 or 29.2% of
the total food budget was spent on products sourced from distributors within 250 miles and third-party
certified products that are sourced from distributors farther than 250 miles.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.