Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.32
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2022

STARS v2.2

Iowa State University
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.27 / 6.00 Karen Rodekamp
Food Stores Manager
ISU Dining
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on products that are sustainably or ethically produced:

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on plant-based foods:

An inventory of food and beverage purchases that qualify as sustainably/ethically produced:
A brief description of the methodology used to conduct the inventory, including the timeframe and how representative samples accounted for seasonal variation (if applicable):

All purchases for ISU Dining are run through the CBORD FSS Menu Management system and accounted for within individual production kitchen food expenses. We are able to compile a year's worth of purchases through reports pulled from this system's history.

Institution-affirmed production numbers were gathered through producer survey to confirm and collect information related to incorporation of sustainability principles through production methods.

Website URL where the institution’s validated Real/Good Food Calculator results are publicly posted:

Which of the following food service providers are present on campus and included in the inventory/assessment?:
Present? Included?
Dining operations and catering services operated by the institution Yes Yes
Dining operations and catering services operated by a contractor Yes Yes
Student-run food/catering services Yes Yes
Franchises (e.g., regional or global brands) Yes No
Convenience stores Yes Yes
Vending services Yes Yes
Concessions Yes No

Total annual dining services budget for food and beverage products:
$10 million or more

A brief description of the institution’s sustainable food and beverage purchasing program:

ISU Dining created the Farm to ISU program in 2007. ISU Dining had been purchasing local products for years prior to the creation of the program, but with the direction of a new director, formed the Farm to ISU name and set forth goals for the program and marketed ourselves with what was then a new trend.

Farm to ISU consists of:

1. Farm Produced: product (meat, cheese, produce, honey) that we can track back to a specific farm. We know the grower, the product is able to be traced back to a farm.

2. Iowa Produced: product that is manufactured or grown in the state of Iowa, but we can’t track it back to a specific farm.

3. Sustainable: product that is certified Fair Trade or Food Alliance Certified.

4. Organic: product that is certified Organic.

First steps in developing the program:
- Announced plans to the community, university and local producers.
- Website and purchasing guidelines were created.
- Held workshops with ISU Extension assistance to communicate to growers how to work with an organization the size of ISU.
- Invited growers to lunch so they could see our kitchen facilities and eat our food that could one day be their product. This allowed the growers to see our quality and grading standards.
- ISU Dining staff visited local farms for education and to assist in weeding, planting, etc. This allowed us to see their challenges and the efforts the growers had prior to product arriving to our facilities.

As the program took flight, we noticed great gains in the protein purchases. The local produce was not making gains. Produce growers had concerns with boxes, low-bid process, planning/planting ahead for large volumes of produce. After 2-3 years of no growth in produce purchasing we implemented contract purchasing for produce.

Bid information was sent out in November communicating our needs/expectations:
- Purchase period (Mid-August through end of September)
- Volume of product
- Specs of produce
- GAP Training

By doing contracts, the selected grower(s) could purchase seeds during December/January when pricing breaks were available. They could plan their plantings according to our delivery criteria. This also provided assurance that we would buy what they grew, taking the chance out of the scenario completely.

Wins along the way:
We made strides with cantaloupe growers in ~2009 or 2010. With a late season for melons, melons were not moving at Farmer’s Markets due to late ripening. The grower contacted us and we were able to begin purchasing all of our watermelon and cantaloupe locally. This grower became a fan of the Farm to ISU program. They learned the value of being able to drop off 700-1,000 pounds of produce at one stop versus sitting at a Farmer’s Market for 4-5 hours. This grower was able to speak to other growers about their ability to lower pricing due to the ability to pick and deliver (no cooler space needed, no time sitting, no concerns if it rained and the market was cancelled).

Local purchasing today:
ISU Horticulture Farm - a win all around to work with a university farm, engaging students, faculty and staff. We coordinate with this team in November to determine crops to plant in spring/summer for fall harvest. This is now reaching over 10,000lbs. in local product from our on-campus farm.

Additional locally grown/produced items- chicken, honey, tofu and apples.

We work with both the university farm and local growers for produce addresses collective consumption needs through taking advantage of unique growing/academic season overlap opportunities. Since our state’s growing seasons doesn’t quite align with our academic purchasing, we have invested in purchasing produce while in season, processing the product and freezing for use during the academic year.

We continue to purchase local product, when the pricing lines up very closely to the conventional market. We continue to see growth in the Organic, Sustainable and Iowa Produced categories.

Website URL where information about the food and beverage purchasing program 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.