Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.17
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Luther College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Wayne Tudor
General Manager
Dining Services (Sodexo)
"---" 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:

Luther College has the following short-term local food purchasing goals:

1. Increase sustainable food purchasing in select food categories.
Dairy - 75% local (all dairy - milk, yogurt, soft-serve, ice cream, cheese)
Meat - 50% local (pork and beef)
Poultry - 20% local (turkey and chicken)
Produce - 25% local (non canned - SnoPac, Luther Gardens, Grown Locally)
Coffee and Tea - 98% Fair Trade
2. Improve nutritional environment in campus eateries (e.g. making water the default beverage).
3. Reduce food waste in all campus venues.

Additionally, we also list a set of core food values on our website. Those food values are:
Food Safety
Energy use
Local food
Environmental Stewardship
Real Food
Workers Rights & Farmer's Equity
Taste & Aesthetics

Sodexo is our food service provide and has published sustainable dining policies as part of the corporation's "Better Tomorrow Plan." Some of those commitments include:
- We will ensure compliance with our Global Sustainable Supply Chain Code of Conduct in all countries where we operate by 2015.
- We will source local, seasonal or sustainably grown or raised products in all countries where we operate by 2015.
- We will source sustainable fish and seafood in all the countries where we operate by 2015.
- We will reduce organic waste in all the countries where we operate and at clients’ sites by 2015. We will support initiatives to recover organic waste.

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:

Luther College has less than 1 acre of production gardens where student workers grow food for sale to dining services. In Fall 2014 a 30x96 high moveable high tunnel was added to the operation, which allows for crops to better align with the academic calendar. Products sold to the cafeteria are mostly used in the cafeteria and catering. Students grow unique varieties of vegetables that either aren't available locally in the volume or price that the cafeteria needs.

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 Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities, Wellness Department and Health Care Fund collaborate to offer CSA rebates to all .75 FTE faculty and staff. Employees are permitted to select any local CSA share of their choosing and are reimbursed 50% of the cost (up to $100). Options include both traditional CSA options with weekly or biweekly deliveries and market shares where participants draw down an account with their CSA farmer at the Farmer's Market each time they shop. Employees are required to attend two "food education events," which include farm tours, cooking classes, documentary viewings, book discussions and gardening classes.

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:

We offer a vegan station in our resident dining facility every day that is complete with vegan protein options. Other stations frequently feature complimentary proteins such as rice and beans.

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:

Meat is limited to only one station on Mondays as a way to encourage decreased meat consumption but does not call our program "Meatless Mondays."

During orientation week Luther provides a "Zero Waste Picnic" for all incoming students and their families. The majority of foods served are local.

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:

During New Student Orientation in 2018, Luther College hosted a Local and Sustainable Luncheon for all incoming first-years and transfer students. "Please join us for lunch in the Cafeteria as we celebrate the collaboration of local and sustainable foods with our local vendors and farmers. There is no charge for Luther students on the board plan. For nonstudents, there is a charge of $9
for adults, $4.50 for children ages 5–10, children under 5 free. Representatives from the Winneshiek Farmers Market will be tabling outside the cafeteria. Honey, pies, and other assorted goods available for purchase."

In 2018 Luther College hosted a harvest festival during lunchtime on Homecoming Weekend. The Center for Sustainable Communities invited all Luther students, faculty, staff, and alumni for an afternoon of pumpkin carving, local farmers, fresh food from the farmers market, cider pressing, and a celebration of sustainability at Luther.

Once a month our Sustainability Educators host a Coffee & Conversation event where they serve locally-roasted fair trade coffee and teach other students about sustainability initiatives on 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?:

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:

We always do our best to provide signage that highlights items that are procured from local producers or the Luther Gardens. Sometimes this is with indicators on the menus and other times it is with little signs that are placed out next to individual items on the line. That said, we do a better job of this some weeks, months, semesters and years than others. We always have information on our digital sign in the cafeteria about local producers and have done local food awareness events a few times over the past few years to highlight the items we are procuring.

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:

The Center for Sustainable Communities has provided sponsorship for a few field days hosted by local producers through organizations like Practical Farmers of Iowa.

In 2017 Luther College engaged more than 60 stakeholders in a food systems planning process. The plan we published is meant to guide food system work in Northeast Iowa for the next 5-10 years.

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:

Our Dining Services team has the following sustainability-related initiatives, including health and wellness initiatives, food waste initiatives, and raising awareness of local foods.

Luther College Dining Services helps guests on our campus select delicious, nutritious and satisfying meals, snacks and desserts by highlighting well-balanced menu choices and providing nutritional information and tips to help guests make choices that fit their needs.

An important part of our focus on health and wellness is the use of seasonal menus, featuring fresh and healthy ingredients—many of which are grown by local or regional farmers. Every season has its own unique produce that is showcased in delicious signature dishes to highlight the distinct flavors and natural appeal of seasonal items. Enjoy healthy choices on your campus throughout the year.

Simple Servings
Simple Servings, an award-winning wellness concept, features delicious, homemade meals, prepared without 7 of the 8 FDA most common allergens. One of our most popular stations, students who simply prefer less complicated, but healthier recipes, line up to enjoy the dishes here. Expect to find favorites like roast pork, grilled chicken, baked sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, and a variety of delicious entrees and sides! 75 percent of Simple Servings items also meet our Mindful criteria, so don't worry about compromising health and flavor! Gluten-intolerant? No problem—additionally, all of our dishes served at this station are gluten-free.

Making Healthy Choices Second Nature with Mindful
Mindful by Sodexo is making the healthy choice the easy choice by providing menu items that balance nutrition and indulgent flavors. With these menu items, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing flavor or taste.

My Fitness Pal
The free MyFitnessPal app is a nutrition and exercise journal, which can guide you to make healthier decisions in real time. Download the free app on your smart phone or create your free account at MyFitnessPal then search “Sodexo Campus” recipes or scan the item’s barcode.

Nutrition Calculator
Use the interactive tool here to easily calculate nutrition information from a library of foods from our dining services. Manage your food choices and find the options that best fit your lifestyle. You can also pre-plan all of your daily meals and print or view the selected items report.

Hydration Calculator
Your body depends on water for survival. Did you know that water makes up more than half of your body weight? Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health. Check out this Hydration Calculator to see if you are drinking enough water daily.

Food Waste Events
We do events that raise awareness about food waste. We have hosted food waste events in the Cafeteria where student workers educate their peers about plate waste by sorting and weighing waste coming off of plates during the lunch or dinner hour. Students are given stickers that say "I Compost" and "Clean Plate Club" and have the option of taking a yogurt container with them that they can use to collect compost in their residence hall room.

Local Food Events
The Luther Gardens student workers often host events such as "Beet Appreciation Day" where a table with samples of foods made with beets (beet chips, beet brownies, roasted beets) are available for sampling. We have hosted a "Squash Fest" at the college farm as a way to get more students out to see the gardens. Squash samples were available, along with games and tours.

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:

The Cafeteria utilizes a production sheet which contains the recipes we use for all our serving lines. This sheet explains how much food we should make of each particular type for each line based on several factors including historical guest counts and trends for popular menu items. We also track and monitor all waste on a spreadsheet that our employees can fill out when disposing of food. This helps us all stay more aware of what we are unable to use. During production, any food by-products, (peels, rinds, etc...) are composted. All over produced food (e.g. extra pans of lasagna and pots of soup) are packaged up by student workers and volunteers twice/week and donated to the local food pantry through our Cafeteria to Community Program. From August 2017 to September 2018, 15,131 pounds of food were donated.

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:

Dining Services removed cafeteria trays back in 2007 to help reduce food waste and conserve resources. Cleaning the trays after each meal required 700 gallons of water and two hours of dish-washing time, which sustainability advocates consider an expensive ecological and financial cost to pay for dining convenience. A trial conducted during the 2007-08 spring semester, consisted of weighing the waste from five meals using trays followed by a week of weighing waste from a similar five meals served trayless. The results revealed an 8.4 percent food waste reduction in the cafeteria. A proposal was written by Caleb Mattison, Luther's sustainability coordinator, during fall semester 2008-09, and Luther administration approved the proposal prior to the end of the semester. Beginning January Term 2009, the college removed the trays permanently.

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:

In the fall of 2013, Luther began a Cafeteria to Community Program. The goal of Luther’s Cafeteria to Community Program is to ensure that good food makes it into the bellies of those who need it. Through this program student volunteers work in close collaboration with dining services staff to package food into quart sized containers that will be labeled and delivered to the First Lutheran Church Food Pantry twice weekly. Donations include soup, main entrees, homemade pasta sauce, vegetables, salads and more. From August 2017 to September 2018, 15,131 pounds of food were donated.

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:

Luther College installed a pulper for our food waste in 2018. This has allowed the college to divert almost 90% of its organic waste from the landfill into a compost system hosted on our campus farm. https://www.luther.edu/headlines/?story_id=741309

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Pre-consumer compost is collected in the kitchens of the cafeteria, Marty's, and Oneota Market. Waste is collected into buckets that is taken directly to the Union dock for pick-up and transport by the student recycling crew to the compost pile. With the addition of a pulper in the cafeteria dish room, all prep waste will now be run through the pulper before being sent to the college farm. This will remove water weight while transforming food waste into a more easily compostable material.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

For decades Luther has offered post-consumer composting in the cafeteria. Students were asked to scrape the contents of their plates into either the landfill or compost bin. Waste audits demonstrated that there was a lot of contamination at the post-consumer level, despite good signage and educational efforts.

With the addition of the pulper in the dish room, protocol has changed. Post consumer bins have been removed and students are now asked to leave everything on their plate for sorting and processing by the dish room. Pre consumer plate waste is now all handled by the pulper. This is a process change but one that we feel will allow us to capture a greater percentage of plate waste. We recognize that from an educational standpoint, this process takes responsibility away from individual students and see that as a downfall to having all plate waste be handled in the dish room. On the other hand, over the past three years we have worked to ensure that nearly every building on campus (administrative, academic and residential) have composting infrastructure. We are seeing great participation rates with composting bins across campus.

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:

All plates and silverware in the cafeteria are reusable.

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:

Our dining services program offers reusable containers that can be used at campus cafés and the Simply To-Go window. These can be used by anyone, and on the first use there is a minimal charge or "deposit." When the person is done with the container, they can bring it back to trade for a new, clean container or a token that can be redeemed the next time they need a container.

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:

All campus cafés selling coffee (Oneota Market, Sunnyside Café and Nordic Brew) offer a significantly reduce rate to customers for bringing their own reusable mug. A coffee refill in a reusable mug costs $1.00 whereas customers wanting coffee in a disposable cup pay $1.75.

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:

We purchase frozen vegetables in bulk directly from Sno Pac Foods. We have also worked with our yogurt vendor to source yogurt in bags, rather than hard plastic containers. Not only does this significantly reduce packaging waste, it also leads to reduced costs. Our Executive Chef, Caleb Timp, has developed a new program in 2018-2019 to buy in bulk for sports teams. Meals are no longer prepped ahead of time. This cuts down on packaging waste (no more individually-wrapped sandwiches or pre-portioned meals).

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.