Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 81.82
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date Feb. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Green Mountain College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ryan Ihrke
Director of 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?:

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

The College will strive to ensure by 2020, that all poultry and pork served in the dining hall will be humanely-sourced from humane-certified vendors. Beef will also be purchased from humane-certified vendors whenever financially feasible and available.
Additionally, GMC will move to convert 40% of food purchasing to local and community based and/or sustainably certified vendors Specifically, food purchases will meet at least one of the following criteria defined by STARS:
• Local and community-based
• Third party verified to be ecologically sound, fair and/or humane

Local community- based products:
• Are sourced from local community-based producers (directly or through distributors)
• Contain raw ingredients (excluding water) that are third party verified and/or locally harvested and produced (e.g. bread made with Organic flour or local honey) and
• Exclude products from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), products that have minimal nutritional value (e.g. soda, chewing gum, candies made predominantly from sweeteners), and products from producers that have been convicted of one or more labor law violations within the previous three years
Products that are not local and community-based must be third party verified to count. Recognized third party standards and certifications for food and beverages are outlined in the STARS Technical Manual.

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

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

Green Mountain College sources produce, eggs, and meat from Green Mountain College's Cerridwen Farm. In FY 2017, total sales from Cerridwen Farm to the Chartwells Dining service was $2,098.

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?:

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

The Institution hosts a weekly farmers market in the main campus lobby each Friday during the academic year. The market featuring produce, eggs, meat, and value added products such as soaps, pickled vegetables, and salsa grown and prepared at the College's Cerridwen Farm. A CSA is also offered by Cerridwen Farm during the summer and early fall for employees and community members.

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?:

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

Green Mountain College offers vegetarian and vegan food choices at every meal. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner Chartwells offers protein rich vegetarian and vegan options as well as non-vegetarian options.

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

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

In Spring of 2017, a student research project focused on low impact dining. Surveys of low impact dining initiatives were conducted among the student body. Low impact meal menus were developed in a collaborative effort between the student researcher and dining staff.. The dining hall initiated a marketing campaign for specific days starting during the spring 2017 semester to launch new impact meal days and added signage for low-impact food items throughout the dining hall. The menu offerings are not meatless, but instead focus on reducing the overall carbon-footprint of food offerings during the low -mpact meal events.

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

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

Chartwells dining services host sustainability-themed meals that highlight local produce and meats throughout the year. Local harvest meals including a thanksgiving meal served before Thanksgiving break featuring pork raised on the campus's Cerridwen Farm along with fall produce sourced locally such as greens, sweet potatoes, and local ice cream. During the low-residency Masters for Sustainable Food Systems in February, local meats, cheeses, and produce is also served, again sourced from the campus farm and local and community based producers. During Senior week in May, another meal features chickens raised on the campus farm earlier in the spring served along with local ice cream, produce and beer.

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?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

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?:

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

Signage in the dining hall includes labels for local food options, low carbon impact menu choices. and the overall commitment to local and sustainability sourced foods. Signage also included information on what items can be composted through our on-campus compost facility. Signage communicating the amount of post consumer food waste generated on a daily basis is also updated on a regular basis.

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

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

As part of Green Mountain College's Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production Major director of the Dining Services, David Ondria, regularly teaches a semester long Animal Proteins class highlighting sustainable meat processing and preparation. The dining service also partners with faculty for classes on food preservation, bringing classes in to prepare items such as pickles, applesauce, granola, and salsa featuring local items for serving in the dining hall . Dining services staff also partner with Student Life and recent alumni to host programs highlighting local beers, wines and cheese. An article David Ondria's support of learning and research about sustainable food systems can be found here: http://www.foodservicedirector.com/people-in-foodservice/fsd-of-month/articles/dave-ondria-leader-whos-true-his-roots

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)?:

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

On October16 , 2016, Green Mountain College hosted the fourth annual fermentation festival in partnership with the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link(RAFFL), Chartwells Dining Service, and Green Mountain Colleges Farm and Food program. Organized and planned by RAFFL (Rutland Area Farm and Food Link), Leslie Silver, and Green Mountain College. The Fermentation Festival is about celebrating and educating about locally produced (but globally influenced) fermented foods, with an emphasis on health benefits, cultural background, the "how-to's" of at home fermentation, and local agriculture.

A schedule with list of presenters can be found here: http://www.rutlandfarmandfood.org/events/fermentation

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?:

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

As a matter of practice the cooks try to minimize waste by buying appropriate amounts, making stock out of vegetable scraps, and donating perishable food to donation centers at the end of the semesters and before breaks. The sustainability office weighs daily amounts of pre-consumer food waste.

Project Green Thumb-encourages recycling and composting in kitchen and prep areas. Bins are provided in the kitchen for the recycling of all packaging as well as for compost.

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?:

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

Trayless Dining: students only take what they can carry and no longer fill their trays with items that will ultimately be wasted. Dining services also saves on water, labor and power by not having to clean the extensive amount of trays that would be needed for service if they were to be included in the program.

The waste diversion crew that works for the sustainability office collects data daily on the weight of post-consumer food waste and notes particularly wasteful trends.

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

A brief description of the food donation program:

Typically, at the end of a semester or prior to breaks, dining services donates any perishable food items with a limited shelf life to local non-profits including the Poultney Food Shelf and Young at Heart Senior Center. Additionally, every May the sustainability office's green move out team donates non-perishable items that the students leave behind to the Poultney Food Shelf and makes the food available to food insecure individuals connected with the College.

Starting in the spring of 2016, students, staff and community members have begun working together to divert through low-cost community meals usable food that in the past would have been composted. Working in conjunction with the Food Recovery Network, Green Mountain College’s Food Partners Network and the Creative Composters of Green Mountain College hosted their first community meal in February 2016 and have continued to host regular meals during the academic year.

Starting in the Fall of 2017, food has also been recovered and provided as to-go food items to community seniors via the local senior center.

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)?:

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

All cooking oil from dining services is recycled by Buffalo Bio Diesel, Inc. They sell Biodiesel and yellow grease for the production of biodiesel to companies in the USA and abroad. In the spring of 2017, the sustainability office began diverting allowable pre-consumer waste is diverted to a local pig farmer.From the start of the pig farm donation program in April 2017 through October 2017, approximately 7,500 lbs of food has been diverted for animal feed.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

The pre-consumer compost program is managed by the sustainability office. Pr-consumer food waste is deposited into compost bins by Chartwell’s dining hall staff members. These food scraps are collected every evening by members of the sustainability office’s work-study compost crew. In the Fall of 2015, the sustainability office began weighing per-consumer waste on its own to gain data specific to per-consumer waste. With the expansion of food waste reduction efforts and food recovery activities, the amount of pre-consumer food waste for composting has dropped by approximately 50%.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

The post-consumer compost program is also managed by the sustainability office. The waste diversion crew is responsible for daily collection of post-consumer food scraps from the dining hall and transporting it to Cerridwen Farm on campus to be processed in the windrow system. All post-consumer food scraps are weighed and reported to the sustainability office daily.

Campus-wide compost collection is managed jointly by the sustainability office and the custodial staff managed by CW. A compost bin is located on every floor of residence halls. There are also compost collection bins located in the majority of all other buildings on campus. The compost bins are part of a 3-bin units that were student built with reused items such as dining hall trays and dresser drawers. The custodial crew monitors the compost bins and removes the food waste for outside pickup by the student waste crew to deliver to our windrow system. .

Finished compost that has been processed on the farm is primarily used by the farm to fertilize vegetable plots and helps produce beautiful vegetables for the campus dining hall, Poultney Farmers’ Market, and CSA shares that are sold to members of the College and surrounding community.

In FY 2015 a total of 20.94 tons of food waste was collected. This included pre and post consumer waste in the dining hall and campus-wide food waste collection.

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

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

China serviceware is utilized for dine in use in the dining hall. Additionally, reusable plastic baskets are used in the retail location ("The Buttery"). These baskets are washed and sanitized in house for reuse.

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)?:

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

In 2014, a student projected helped launch a reusable to-go container program where students, staff, and faculty pay an up front cost of $6.50 in return for unlimited use of a reusable to-go container, which can be returned and washed by the dining hall. Participants have a plastic card that shows they are in the program. Since Fall of 2015, all incoming new students were given a free to-go container during their orientation for them to participate in the program while at GMC.

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?:

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

Customers utilizing reusable mugs may purchase a refill of coffee at the 12oz price regardless of the size of their mug.

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)?:

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

Project Green Plate: students are encouraged to take only the food that they will eat and reduce the amount of waste.

In the fall of 2016, waste crew workers and other students led an incentive program to reduce post consumer food waste by 25%. Students who pledged to reduce their food waste were entered into a drawing to dump compost on student volunteers if the 25% reduction was reached. After the 25% reduction was met, the compost dump was incorporated into a larger video about Green Mountain College’s post- consumer food waste. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDKQqvOYHCU

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.